Coronavirus Updates

February 18, 2021

COVID-19: NAFDAC approves AstraZeneca vaccine for use in Nigeria

Uganda will import five million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines next month after the discovery of new COVID-19 variants in the country, President Yoweri Museveni has said. In a televised address to the nation late Friday, Museveni said the vaccines will be used to vaccinate at least 80 per cent of the 5.5 million elderly. People below 50 years, with underlying medical conditions that are at high risk of contracting the novel coronavirus, will also be vaccinated. Uganda targets to vaccinate more than 21.9 million people who face the highest risk of the infection, including the health workers, teachers, social workers and security personnel, elderly and those with underlying medical conditions. “The government is working hard to ensure we bring another five million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine before the end of May to complete the threshold vaccination and ensure that those vaccinated before getting the second booster dose,’’ said Museveni. “Vaccines are the most effective intervention we have against COVID-19. “The government and partners are working hard to bring vaccines to most adult Ugandans to protect them and to support us to reopen the economy and get back all our children to school.’’ Henry Mwebesa, Director-General of Health Services, last week said Uganda is scheduled to receive some two million more doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines in May through the COVAX facility. Uganda has so far received 964,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX vaccine sharing programme and the Indian government. As of April 16, a total of 220,893 people had been inoculated with the first jab of AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19, according to the Ministry of Health statistics. The country has reported the emergence of the highly transmissible COVID-19 variants which were first reported in Britain, South Africa and Nigeria. The ministry’s data showed that as of April 16, Uganda had registered a cumulative total of 41,340 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 40,898 recoveries and 338 deaths.
Director-General, NAFDAC, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye

By Sola Ogundipe

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for use in Nigeria.

The approval came on the heels of the listing on Monday, of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use by the World Health Organisation, WHO.

Announcing the approval on Thursday at a media briefing, the NAFDAC Director-General, Dr. Mojisola Adeyeye, said the evaluation of the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine shows it is effective against the variant of the coronavirus first discovered in the UK, several cases of which have been reported in Nigeria.

Adeyeye who explained that three other Covid-19 vaccines are being evaluated by the agency, however, said the variant of the virus first discovered in South Africa has not been reported in the country.

READ ALSO: One in two South Africans has had Covid-19 ― Studies, Statisticians

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, codenamed AZD1222, is the second COVID-19 vaccine to receive the WHO authorisation, after the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

The agency obtained the dossier of the vaccine last week and its Safety Committee immediately began evaluating its safety and efficacy for Nigerians.

The WHO listed two versions of the AstraZeneca-Oxford Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, giving the green light for these vaccines to be rolled out globally through the COVAX facility. The approved vaccines are being produced by the Serum Institute of India, and by SKBio in South Korea.

The emergency use listing procedure assesses the quality, safety, and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, and is a prerequisite for vaccines in the WHO co-led COVAX facility.

Nigeria has been allocated 16 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine under the COVAX facility while more doses are being expected under the Africa Union arrangement.

Vanguard News Nigeria