When the Covid-19 pandemic broke in 2019 in China and got to Nigeria sometime in February 2020, there was panic and worry as to where to get the solution. The agitations and pleas to sentiments and to governments, globally was for immediate solution in form of drugs and vaccination. Eventually, the vaccine came out and so were many myths and conjectures about it. OLUWATOSIN OMONIYI reports on the varied experiences of some people who took the shots
When the vaccination became available in Nigeria, Lagos specifically, there was noticeable hesitant towards it, accompanied with fears and many misinformation surrounding it.
The few individuals, who were bold to take the vaccine early, went round with different stories which were either laced with exaggeration or fear.
However, Sunday Telegraph visited a few Primary Health Centres (PHC), where Vaccines were administered. It was observed that the crowd was large but lacked proper organisation.
At Alimosho PHC, the crowd wouldn’t give room for proper ventilation. The health officials were swallowed up in the heat of the crowd. Perhaps, due to the pressure of the crowd, the nurses especially were not too friendly and nagged too often towards the people. They kept shouting, “move back, give space, it will go round only when the place is well ventilated.”
At Oregun Health Centre, it was a bit coordinated but the attitude of the health officials wasn’t totally different from that of Alimosho. Intermittently, the officials would address the crowd on what to do and expect after vaccination. Of course, there were some fights for space, or being at the spot first before the other, accusations and abuses over partiality and nepotism.
At Ajuwon PHC, same story with little difference of handling. Mrs. Zainab Owolabi, a health caregiver at the Ajuwon PHC, told Sunday Telegraph the effects of COVID-19 vaccine on people after they have been vaccinated. She said that fever, exhaustion, headaches, muscle pains and pains at the injection spot, or even swollenness, might be the side effects.
“When any of these side effects occur, we recommend that patients take Panadol or Paracetamol and rest for one or two days. “No serious or long-term side effects have been reported in any of the patients, but it is possible but extremely rare.” At Ifako/Ijaiye PHC, the crowd management was fantastic.
They were divided into three groups, the young, aged and middle age under three different canopies. No story of being exposed to, or delayed under the harsh rays of the sun. They had security officials who directed and coordinated the movement of people in rows accordingly.
The movement was smooth with no complaints. The only time there was rancour was when officials of Federal Road Safety Corps, (FRSC) trooped in the middle of peaceful vaccination process, and demanded that they be attended to above those who had been on the queue. They were not pleasant with this. Tempers flared with a threat of punches across heads but it was quickly managed.
The health officials, every 20 mins addressed the crowd on possible side effects to expect and what to do or number to call. People’s tale Davies Obomate, 45, of No 1 Abayomi Street, off Best Foods Street, Lekki, had no reaction after the jab. She said for some seconds after the jab, she felt slight dizziness but regained her posture 30mins after and headed home.
About five hours after the jab, she said she lost comportment of her real self. “I started feeling some kind of heaviness and strain from the back of my thighs to my legs, couldn’t stand straight for like five minutes, and couldn’t even concentrate on anything I was doing. I was just confused and restless,” she said.
Obomate added that she felt feverish, hence, had to go back to the health centre for medical attention since she was warned against self – medication for any side effect she noticed. At the health centre, however, she said she was advised to continue the use of paracetamol alongside good rest and in a couple of days, she would be alright.
Olanrewaju Ajayi, 25, of number 22 Odunbanku Street, Iju/Ishaga, Lagos, almost fainted on Friday, April 9, 2021, the day he took his own vaccination. Shortly after the shot, he spread out on the chair like one in labour.
He was immediately attended to by the medical officials at the centre. He was given paracetamol, water and a bottle of soft drink. 33mins after, his aunt took him home.
The aunt told Sunday Telegraph that Ajayi was sleeping and waking up to eat. And his appetite was huge. “It was as if he was eating for five people at a go. He was also complaining of tiredness and being lethargic towards his work. It took about three days for the effect of the vaccine to wear out on him,” she said. Ajayi told Sunday Telegraph that he felt slightly dizzy after the shot and was unable to hold himself.
The reaction he noticed he had an unusual appetite and sleeping more often and developed lethargy towards his work. “For about three days, I was indoors just sleeping and eating. It was like something strange hit me. But I am fine and healthy now,” he said.
Kunle Salami, 54, told the Newspaper that the only thing he noticed was that he was eating more often than normal. “An hour after the shot, I had slight headache and a kind of hunger pang. First, I ate a full plate of rice. Fifteen minutes after, I ate another plate of Eba and Egusi soup. I was embarrassed 20mins after again, when I felt a pang of hunger in me. I asked for four mounds of pounded yam. Again at night, I took a whole N350 loaf of bread and tea.
As I was eating, I was dozing and waking up to eat any available food for two straight days. But I am back to my normal self now. I can authoritatively say the vaccine is safe and effective, hence, let’s all endeavour to take it,” he pleaded.
Mrs. Olawunmi Obidare, mother of four, got her husband panicked the following day she got the vaccine. She complained to her husband that she felt like she was giving up the ghost because she couldn’t breathe properly, had a terrible headache that wouldn’t go away after taking paracetamol three times. She said she felt tightened at the chest with an inexplicable pain that stretched to the back of her neck from the shoulder down to her thigh.
“I also became restless, uncomfortable and totally disconnected from everything around me. I was frightened, thinking that it could lead to stroke for me. I am not sure of taking the second dose.”
Mrs. Helen Adesuyi, 68, complained that there was no enough awareness on the attendant discomfort associated with the vaccination. All the information she got regarding the vaccine were words of mouth that went round regarding it.
“After the shot of the vaccine, I didn’t feel anything throughout that day until midnight when my arms, the vaccinated spot got swollen and aching; I also had slight body temperature with headache and couldn’t move my legs smartly.
I complained to my neighbour who advised me to take Paracetamol and if the pains persisted, she told me to hurry up to the hospital for proper medical care. At the medical centre, I was just told to take enough rest and Paracetamol and it worked,” she explained. Modupe Adeyemo said she also felt slight dizziness immediately after the shot but was fine 30 minutes after.
But for three straight days, she said she was sleepy. “I can’t stay wide awake for 10 minutes and I was just eating abnormally but I’m fine now,” she said. Another woman, who did not want her name in print, said she experienced tiredness.
“I felt like I was sick after getting the vaccine because I became very weak and tired; I slept the whole way home in the car. When I got home, I went straight to the bathroom, took a bath, and then went straight to bed; I slept over 30 hours in two days but I am fine now”.
A couple, Mr and Mrs Ogunlusi shared with Sunday Telegraph that after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, the man had a severe headache which lasted two days. He said he got feverish immediately after he got vaccinated on Monday, March 29, 2021. “I went to a pharmacy and bought paracetamol, which I took as soon as I got home and fell asleep.
Two hours after, I had a severe headache. I sent someone to get me ibuprofen because the pain was intolerable, but I was fine after two days. My mother-in-law developed a swollen shoulder, but she is fine now,” he explained.
One of the health officials at Oregun Health Centre told Sunday Telegraph that she took paracetamol four hours after the vaccine but the headache didn’t subside but her superior told her to take a rest at home. While at home, she said she felt feverish with bitter taste in her mouth, a swollen shoulder (the vaccinated spot).
“I was uncomfortable for about three days and became stronger thereafter,” she said. Meanwhile the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, (NPHCDA) through its director Dr. Faisal Shuaib, on Friday, April 16, 2021, disclosed that it has not received any official report of serious adverse effects from any of those who have been vaccinated.
The NPHCDA boss who made this known at a press briefing with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Abuja, maintained that there have been no deaths and blood clots recorded so far. He explained that, of the more than one million people who have taken the Astrazeneca Covid-19 vaccine in Nigeria, about 8,439 persons have suffered mild adverse event following immunization (AEFI), and 52 persons have suffered moderate to severe adverse events on receiving the jab.
The mild reactions he explained include body pains and swelling, the moderate to severe adverse events presented were fever, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness and allergic reactions.
Dr Shuaib explained further that Kaduna State recorded the highest the highest rate of AEFI with 970 cases followed by Cross River with 859 cases, Yobe 541 cases, Kebbi 511 cases while Lagos recorded 448 cases of adverse events. So far, he insisted that there has been no case of death or blood clot recorded from the Astrazeneca Covid-19 vaccination in the country.
“The vaccination rollout in the country has been marked by safety, efficiency best practices and speed,” he said. He pointed out that NAFDAC has introduced an App known as ‘MED-SAFETY’ App for people to download and install on their Android and Apple devices, to report any adverse event following immunization (AEFI).
He added that if the brand is not safe and efficacious enough in protecting people against COVID-19, it would not have been endorsed by WHO and no country, including Nigeria.