Nigeria Won’t Drop AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine, Says FG

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Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), the focal agency responsible for the deployment of the COVID-19 vaccines, has said that the country will not stop the use of Astrazeneca vaccine.

In a statement by NPHCDA’s Head, Public Relations Unit, Mohammad Ohitoto yesterday, the agency said many countries around the world are administering the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, including much of Europe, and United Kingdom which have administered the most doses of AstraZeneca globally.

The statement said: “Nigeria is continuing in the process of administering roughly 4 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, beginning with our frontline health workers and vulnerable individuals. There has been no change to current plans or supply.”

He said the World Health Organization, (WHO), British and European health regulators all have continued to advocate for the use of AstraZeneca.

“AstraZeneca’s strong effectiveness against COVID-19 has been demonstrated in clinical and human trials: it has been shown to be 76% effective at preventing COVID-19 and 100% effective at preventing severe disease and hospitalization.

“Nigeria’s health authorities followed closely recent pronouncements from Europe’s regulator, the EMA. The head of the EMA stated that, according to scientific knowledge, there is no evidence to support restricting the use of the vaccine in any population,” he said.

According to NPHCDA, priority is still given to the health and safety of the Nigerian people.
“Ourr decisions and advice are guided by best practice and scientific evidence. We are confident in AstraZeneca’s ability to save lives,” he said..