The Federal Government of Nigeria said it has received a donation of additional 592,880 doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine from the government of the United Kingdom through the COVAX Facility.
Executive Director/CEO, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib made this known during the weekly press briefing to update Nigerians on COVID-19 vaccination.
It would be recalled that earlier, the UK government had donated 699,760 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Nigeria, thus bringing the total of donations to the country by the UK to 1,292,640 doses.
According to the ED said, “The additional doses would be included in the 2nd dose vaccination exercise currently ongoing for clients who have already taken the 1st dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the 1st phase.”
He called on those who have received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine before 8th July 2021 to go and get their second dose to be fully protected against all strains of the Coronavirus.
Dr. Faisal also charged state governors to intensify mobilization of their citizens to prioritize the acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccine in their respective states, adding that vaccines are potent tools in mitigating the outbreak of infectious diseases such as COVID-19.
While appealing to journalists to dedicate more contents and programmes to address misinformation by educating the people on the benefits of getting vaccinated, Dr. Faisal said, “Nigeria and the rest of the world need to end the pandemic, recover from its economic adversities, and return to normalcy. However, getting this done will be difficult if we do not face the issues of misinformation and disinformation squarely.”
Speaking at the press conference, Country Representative, World Health Organization, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo lauded the use of Electronic Management of Immunization Data (EMID) to ease the registration and profiling of clients during vaccination and in improving primary healthcare services in the country.
He said “at the global level WHO is calling for a moratorium on boosters until the end of September to enable at least 10% of the population of every country to be vaccinated. I will like to encourage NPHCDA and the federal government to work towards that aim.”
He observed that “the trend we see is each new wave strikes Africa faster and harder, reaching a higher number of new cases more rapidly than the previous waves, putting an increasing strain on already stretched health facilities and the health workers.”
He, however, expressed optimism that increasing vaccine supply raises hopes that the continent will meet the target of vaccinating 10% of the population by the end of September.
He urged Nigerians to continue observing the non-pharmaceutical measures of avoiding unnecessary travels, social distancing, hand hygiene, and wearing face masks.
Also, UNICEF Country Representative to Nigeria, Dr. Peter Hawkins said the second phase of Nigeria’s vaccination exercise offers an opportunity for citizens who are due for their second dose to get vaccinated for maximum protection against COVID-19.
While calling on health workers and frontline workers who have not been vaccinated to avail themselves of vaccination, the UNICEF helmsman said vaccines are beginning to be readily and continually available in the country.