Posted by News Express | 11 August 2021 | 873 times
By JOHN NWOKOCHA, Abuja
•Warns: Don’t mix COVID-19 vaccine brands
Executive Director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, on Tuesday gave reasons why the long awaited COVID-19 vaccines were delayed. Explaining governments preparations towards the roll out of the nation’s second phase vaccination plan, Shuaib stated: “it is important to mention that the delay witnessed in the rollout of the vaccine is as a result of our continued commitment to work with our partners and other agencies to ensure that when we roll out the vaccines they are as successful as what we witnessed during the 1st phase of the vaccination rollout”.
Shuaib dismissed reports to suggest that the delays in the rollout of the vaccines were due to documentations of the vaccine, saying “is not correct”.
“On the contrary the reason why we had to extend/postpone the launch date of the vaccine is because we want to institute once again in conjunction with NAFDAC the track and trace all the way to health facility where the vaccines would be administered. This means that we are locally creating labels for the vaccines barcode that will ensure that this tracking and tracing continues just like we did in the 1st phase.
“Consequently, we want to call on all Nigerians to remain assured that the vaccines that we have are safe and will be deployed next week as earlier communicated. The flag off and roll out of the 2nd phase of the COVID-19 Vaccination program will be done on August 16th, 2021”.
He further cleared the air saying they are currently wrapping up the training about 40,739 health workers across the National, State and Ward level on phase 2 strategic vaccine roll out plan, adding that it focuses on improving the delivery, communication, data management, management of the vaccines and logistics that are needed.
According to Shuaib a total of 3363 teams will be used. He added, “2690 teams manning the fixed post and 673 manning temporary fixed post which will go from settlement to settlement especially around areas where people will congregate for example the houses of the traditional leaders, the markets and motor parks”.
He continued: “While we are hopeful and well prepared to roll out the 2nd Phase vaccination plan, we are by no means oblivious of the fact that there are challenges ahead, especially now that the country has started receiving different brands of COVID-19 vaccines. We are aware that Nigerians would want to know if there is a preferred brand”.
He assures that regardless of brand, COVID-19 vaccines, as long as they have been approved by NAFDAC, provide adequate protection against the disease.
He warned on the danger of mixing COVID-19 vaccine brands.
His words: “However, it is pertinent to state that mixing one brand of vaccine with another brand in first and second dose is not allowed.
“Those who have received AstraZeneca as first dose should receive AstraZeneca as second dose, while those who will receive Moderna as first dose will receive Moderna as second dose when due. In a few days, we will take delivery of additional AstraZeneca vaccine and those who are due for second dose of the vaccine will be prioritized”.
It will be recalled that Nigeria has received 4,000,080 doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine donated by the government of the United States. The country will be receiving 176,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines on Wednesday. These 176,000 doses are coming out of the 29,850,000 doses that the Federal Government procured from the AFREXIM Bank through the African Union.
The 1st phase of vaccination rollout ended on July 9.
On the Moderna vaccines integrity, Shuaib explained that NAFDAC took samples of the vaccines to test not only their integrity, but also their consistency, with what the global standard recommends, what the Nigerian standard is as well as to ensure that it is in line with the product information that has been provided by the US Government and Moderna.
“NAFDAC has come back to state that they have approve the Moderna vaccine for use”.
“Most brands of COVID-19 vaccine require two doses of varying intervals between the doses for full protection. Moderna is two doses, four weeks apart; Oxford AstraZeneca is two doses with six to 12 weeks apart; and Pfizer is two doses, three weeks apart. However, brands such as Johnson and Johnson that we are receiving tomorrow, require a single dose for full protection against the virus”.
He said anybody from 18 years and above is eligible to receive Moderna or any other brand of COVID-19 vaccine available.
Answering questions on when Nigeria will start local manufacturing of vaccines, Shuaib said the process was on.
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