Covid-19 vaccination: FG gives reason for postponement

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The abrupt postponement of the commencement of the second phase of the vaccination against coronavirus is to allow the National Agency for Food, Drug, Administration and Control, NAFDAC to finish its assessment and preparatory processes, the Federal Government has clarified.

A statement signed by Willie Bassey, of the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation on Sunday night, had said that the decision was due to “unforeseen circumstances.”

But in another statement on Monday morning, the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, “The start date for the vaccination has been postponed to next week Monday. This is to enable NAFDAC to finish its assessment and preparatory processes.”

Nigeria had commenced COVID-19 vaccination on March 5, 2021, having received approximately four million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines from COVAX.

To achieve herd immunity against the infection, Nigeria had set an ambitious goal of vaccinating 40 per cent of its over 200 million population before the end of 2021, and 70 per cent by the end of 2022.

To achieve this, “the vaccine roll-out will be in four phases, starting with health workers, frontline workers, COVID-19 rapid response team, laboratory network, policemen, petrol station workers and strategic leaders,” the head of Nigeria’s immunisation agency, Faisal Shuaib, had said.

Shuaib said this second phase would capture older adults aged 50 years and above and those with comorbidities aged between 18 and 49 years of age.

He also said that the third phase would cover states and local government areas with high disease burden and those who may have missed out in the first and second phases.

“Phase 4 will include other eligible populations as vaccines become available,” he said.

So far, 3,938,945 eligible persons across 36 states and FCT, have been vaccinated.

Shuaib said 2,534,205 people have been vaccinated for the first dose and 1,404,205 have received their second dose of the vaccine.

The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is given in double doses. A person is required to come back for a second shot, some weeks after taking the first jab. It is the same procedure for the new Moderna vaccines.

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