Over 8,000 Nigerians have received their first jabs of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine over a week after the country kickstarted its vaccination campaign.
The campaign started on March 5, 2021 after Nigeria received nearly four million doses of the vaccine to contain the disease that has infected over 160,000 people in Nigeria since February 2020.
The Director-General of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, said on Monday, March 15 that the government is fully committed to a safe and successful vaccination program.
He dispelled fears surrounding the AstraZeneca vaccine, after at least 17 countries around the world suspended its deployment following serious cases of blood clots among vaccinated people.
Shuaib said the NPHCDA has received no official report of serious adverse effects from any of those who have been vaccinated in Nigeria.
“Of course, mild side effects such as pain and swelling at the site of the vaccination, are expected.
“This is normal with any vaccination, and we are working closely with NAFDAC to monitor any unusual adverse reactions,” he said.
The NPHCDA boss said no safety and efficacy standards has been compromised in the decision of the Nigerian government to introduce the vaccine which has been received by President Muhammadu Buhari, numerous state governors, and other government officials.
The vaccine is received in two doses 12 weeks apart in Nigeria.
AstraZeneca said in a statement on Sunday, March 14 that available evidence does not show its vaccine is responsible for the health concerns raised.
Many countries, most of them in Europe, that have suspended its deployment have indicated that it was done as a precautionary measure while issues are investigated.