The Nigerian government has extended the timeline for the administration of second dose of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines in the country.
The Executive Director/CEO, of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib announced the extension at a press briefing in Abuja.
He said that the vaccination which was earlier scheduled to end June 25, is now extended to July 5, 2021.
He said that the decision for the extension was as a result of constraints of time arising from citizens’ various economic and social engagements.
Dr Shuaib also disclosed that a total of 2,099,568 people have been vaccinated with their first dose while 1,005,234 have received their second dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine as at June 24, 2021.
Shuaib also pointed out that administration of first dose was still ongoing and urged Nigerians to avail themselves for vaccination.
Adherence to safety measures
He however, reiterated that full vaccination does not exempt people who have received their second dose of the vaccine from observing the infection prevention and control measures.
“It is very important for everyone, including those who have received their second dose to continue to wear face masks and observe other non-pharmaceutical measures to prevent the spread of the virus”, he said.
Shuaib also stated that after more than three million vaccinations, 13,267 people have experienced mild to moderate side effects, while 4,708 have experienced moderate to severe side effects in the country
“It is however important for me to repeat that Nigeria has not recorded any case of death directly linked to Covid-19 vaccination. Cases of mild, moderate and severe reactions that have been recorded are expected from normal vaccination and people who experienced any of these have since recovered and are doing well.
“Therefore, we should not allow the fear of side effects to discourage us from taking the vaccine, as the long term benefits of getting vaccinated far outweighs the risk of brief side effects”, he added.
The World Health Organisation (WHO), Country Representative in Nigeria, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, said that a third wave of Covid-19 was real and was rising in some African Countries already.
Mulombo also noted that the pandemic was not yet over.
“It’s actually more dangerous than ever not because of people that are unvaccinated. It’s because people are not protecting themselves. People are not avoiding crowded places. People are not engaging in protective measures via social distancing not wearing face masks, when they need to”, Dr. Mulombo said.
He also advised Nigerians to take the preventive measures seriously and that vaccines were just an addition.
He noted that rapid scale up of vaccines and improvement in supply mechanisms was crucial.
“Since February 2021, 77 percent of all the vaccine doses have been administered in seven countries,” he added.
The representative of UNICEF in Nigeria, Dr Peter Hawkins, said that some countries have started the Covid-19 vaccination for children, but Nigeria was not yet at that stage.