COVID-19: SIDE EFFECTS REPORTED BY THOSE VACCINATED MILD, SAYS NPHCDA

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency says some of those that have received the doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria reported mild side effects.

The Federal Government’s agency made this known in a statement on its Twitter handle on Thursday without stating the side effects.

It explained that Nigeria did not receive any batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine with a suspected side effect, ABV5300.

In the statement titled, ‘Press Statement on concerns about the safety of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Vaccine’, NPHCDA urged Nigerians to be confident in the nation’s vaccine programme.

We had reported that Nigeria took delivery of about four million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as part of an overall 16 million doses planned to be delivered to the country in batches over the next few months.

Among the prominent Nigerians that have been vaccinated are the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.

Health workers, governors, members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and other strategic leaders in the country have also been vaccinated.

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Several countries suspended the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine on Thursday over blood clot fears, prompting Europe’s medical agency to quickly reassure the public there were no known health risks linked to the jab. 

Among the countries that have suspended the use of the vaccine are Italy, Denmark, Norway and Iceland.

The melee over the vaccine came as the world marked one year since the pandemic was officially declared.

Data obtained from the website of the World Health Organisation showed that the virus has now killed more than 2.6 million people globally, while billions have been subjected to anti-Covid restrictions.

However, more than 300 million vaccine doses are said to have been administered in 140 countries, according to an AFP tally.

The statement by NPHCDA read, “We are aware of precautionary concerns that have been raised regarding one specific batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine, namely ABV5300.

“We understand that investigations are being conducted to determine if the batch is in any way linked to an observed side effect.

“While we await the outcome of the investigations, it is important to clearly state that Nigeria did not receive any doses from the batch of vaccines which is at issue.

“Vaccinations in Nigeria started earlier this month and we have not observed any similar adverse reactions. All side effects reported by those who have been administered the vaccine have been mild.

“We are satisfied that the clinical evidence indicates the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to be safe and effective.

“Our assessment is in line with countries such as Spain and the UK who have indicated that they will continue to administer the vaccine, because it remains an important tool to protect against COVID-19.

“The safety of vaccines delivered to Nigeria is paramount to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19. For this reason, it has enhanced multi-sectoral collaboration among stakeholders and technical entities such as the FMOH, NPHCDA, NAFDAC, WHO, and UNICEF whose cooperation ensures the highest global standards are met for vaccines delivered to Nigeria before they are distributed to Nigerians. Clear, rigorous protocols are being followed to safeguard the health of Nigerians.

“We are continuing to monitor the developments regarding ABV5300 batch and will share further information as it becomes available.

“In the meantime, we encourage Nigerians who are among those being prioritized in the current phase to continue their confidence and enthusiasm for our vitally important national vaccine program. Together, we can save lives.”

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