…reopens first dose vaccination, as second dose closes June 25
…expects Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines Sept
The Federal Government has said a second consignment comprising 3.92 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines would be delivered to Nigeria between the end of July or early August, 2021, by the COVAX facility.
Confident of the second delivery, the country has yielded to requests by the citizenry and reopened vaccination of first doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca, with a hope of giving the second doses to complete the vaccination from the expected consignment.
Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, who made the announcement on Tuesday in Abuja while briefing newsmen, explained that the expected Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine were not from India, but South Korea.
He clarified that the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine expected in the country was likely to arrive in September.
He said: “Recall that we officially closed the vaccination for the first dose on May 24, 2021. Since then, we have been inundated with requests by Nigerians to be vaccinated. In response, we have decided to reopen vaccination for the first dose from today.
“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 the 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.
“Given that we now have confidence in additional vaccines, we can give first doses knowing that the COVAX facility will not expressingly communicate with countries not until the vaccines have been secured.”
Dr. Shuaib advised Nigerians who have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to check their cards to ensure they don’t miss out on the second dose, which he announced would close officially on June 25.
“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 June 25 when we shall close the administration of the second dose.”
While noting that 1,978,808 first doses and 680,345 second doses have so far been administered, he stressed that recent research from Public Health England (PHE) shows that the Indian (Delta) variant B.1.617.2 was 92 percent susceptible to the COVID-19 Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
“It is therefore comforting to know that the vaccine used in Nigeria can protect against this variant that causes high morbidity and mortality in India. However, it underscores the need for us to ramp up our vaccination to more Nigerians.”