*Advises that administered 1st dose earlier to go for 2nd between 6-12 weeks for full protection
*To get 3.92m doses of Oxford/Astrazeneca by end of July or early August
By Joseph Erunke, ABUJA
AS nations intensify efforts towards controlling the spread of COVID-19,the federal government has reopened vaccination for first dose.
This came as it said it advised those that earlier received the first dose of vaccine to go for the send dose between 6-12 weeks after taking the first dose.
It said it was in possession of information that the country would “get 3.92m doses of Oxford/Astrazeneca by end of July or early August.”
So far, government said it has “administered 1,978,808 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and 680,345 second doses.”
The Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA,Dr Faisal Shuaib,stated this in a speech he presented at a press conference, Tuesday,where he updated Nigerians on the status of COVID-19 vaccination in the country.
“Our dedicated teams continue to make strides in the vaccine rollout, working hand in hand with the local communities all across Nigeria. As of today, we have administered 1,978,808 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and 680,345 second doses.
“I therefore urge all Nigerians who have received their first dose at least six weeks ago to visit the nearest vaccination site to receive their second dose, for full protection against COVID-19 on or before 25th June when we shall close the administration of the second dose.
“Recall that we officially closed the vaccination for the first dose on 24th May 2021. Since then, we have been inundated with request by Nigerians to be vaccinated. In response, we have decided to reopen vaccination for the first dose from today,”he said.
Shuaib said:”I will once again remind those listening that we are advising that all Nigerians who have received their first dose to check their vaccination cards for the date of their first dose and ensure that they receive the second dose between 6 – 12 weeks after their 1st dose to gain full protection against COVID-19.”
He added:” Please note that in some cases the location of your second dose may be different from your first dose, so please be sure to confirm this.”
According to him,”We have held town hall meetings in North Central and NorthEast zones across our country. While efforts to ensure supply of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines in Nigeria are ongoing, the Presidential Steering Committee this week will be having our planned South-South Zonal Town Hall Meeting with stakeholders and the larger communities on COVID-19 vaccination in Benin, Edo State. “
He said government was” fully committed to going to communities to discuss directly our vaccine effort”noting that “the importance of staying safe and protected against COVID-19 and answering questions people have.”
“We have been really grateful for the high levels of participation and interest in these events. We are confident that through continued awareness raising, we will be able to keep communities safe and healthy,”he said.
According to him,”This means anyone 18 years and above who has not been vaccinated should visit the nearest vaccination site for the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. For such persons, their second dose will be due in 12 weeks and by then we would have received the next consignment of vaccines.”
“We now have information that Nigeria will get 3.92m doses of Oxford/Astrazeneca by end of July or early August. As we receive additional information on the exact dates in August, we will provide an update regarding timelines and details of this,”it disclosed.
Recalling that:”Recent research from Public Health England (PHE) shows that the Indian (Delta) variant B.1.617.2 is 92% susceptible to Oxford/Astrazeneca,”he said:” It is therefore comforting to know that the vaccine used in Nigeria can protect against this variant that caused high morbidity and mortality in India. “
“However, it underscores the need for us to ramp up our vaccination to more Nigerians,”he said.
He spoke further:”As you all are aware, hesitancy towards the second dose is very tied to the continued misinformation and disinformation about COVID-19 and the vaccination program globally and locally. This is especially prevalent on social media. While I commend the patriotism of a multitude of our social media influencers, I must say that I profoundly appreciate the contributions our professional media community has been making towards the progress of COVID-19 vaccination campaign in Nigeria.
“Nevertheless, the challenge is upon us to go beyond straight news and do more in educating Nigerians through interpretative stories, promotional exclusives, features and special broadcast programs on the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination. It is important to emphasize the need to be fully protected with the second dose, and the socio-economic and health risks of refusing to be vaccinated.
“We will not be tired of calling upon you, the media, as we are confident that you will not relent in bringing to bear on COVID-19, the sheer patriotism and professional prowess you demonstrated in our collective and successful fight against polio in Nigeria. Again, our goal is to do everything possible to educate, combat misinformation, and engender confidence in the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, and to ensure all Nigerians have clear information on how, where, and when to get the vaccine.
“While we are working with our international partners to confirm the next shipment of vaccines to Nigeria, I wish to speak about the G7 summit that occurred over the weekend. The topic of global inequities in the vaccine supply was a significant focus of the G7 meeting. Rightfully so. Leaders of major, rich countries are becoming increasingly aligned with the thinking that the inequities cannot continue – not only because it is a moral failure but because it is strategically unwise for their own efforts to end the COVID-19 pandemic.
“On the final day of the summit, leaders committed to delivering at least 1 billion coronavirus vaccine doses to the world over the next year. While this will not close the enormous gap that exists today, it is a positive step and we welcome the new focus.
Additionally, President Biden announced “on the eve of the summit that the US will purchase 500 million doses of the Pfizer-bioNTech vaccine and donate them to low- and middle-income countries through the next year. This pledge is by far the largest yet by one country. These doses will be distributed via Covax. We welcome this announcement and encourage other nations with the means to follow the US’ example so that we, as a global community, can move forward from COVID-19 swiftly.
“In other positive news, the Mastercard Foundation has pledged to donate $1.3 billion for vaccines in Africa over the next three years in partnership with the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is one of the largest corporate donations of the pandemic, globally. The goals of this cooperation are to strengthen the Africa CDC’s capacity, support local vaccine manufacturing, procure vaccines for at least 50 million people, and help deliver shots to millions more. We applaud Mastercard’s decision, and hope it will serve as an impetus for other corporations to follow with similar efforts.
” I want to ensure that everyone is aware that there has been a rise in COVID-19 cases in several African countries recently. All Nigerians must continue to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Wearing a face covering over your nose and mouth in public spaces can save lives. A curfew remains in place from midnight until 4am every day. Indoor gatherings must be limited to 50 people, and are only permitted if all attendees abide by social distancing and wear face masks.
” And the government has introduced restrictions on incoming travel from high-risk countries and quarantine requirements to keep Nigerians safe. With a virus like COVID-19, we each must do our part to keep our communities safe.”