Executive Director of NPHDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, at the press briefing in Abuja, Tuesday

Covid-19 vaccine: Nigeria reaches 4.7% target population, says no vaccine-related deaths so far

National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has said that as at 14th of October 2021, a total of 5,246,523 eligible populations have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine in the country.

Executive Director of NPHDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, at the press briefing in Abuja,

This, the agency, added represents 4.7% of the target population and the number of eligible persons fully vaccinated in Nigeria is 2,546,094 which represents 2.3% of the target population.

NPHCDA also confirmed that no death related to the administration of the COVID-19 vaccines has been recorded in Nigeria so far.

Executive Director, NPHCDA Dr. Faisal Shuaib, who made this known in Abuja at the weekly briefing on National Vaccination on COVID-19, Thursday, further informed that within the first three days following vaccination, mild to severe symptoms which were time limited were experienced.

According to him, out of 1,284 adults enrolled in a study to monitor safety of COVID-19 vaccines in the country, 52.6% of enrollees reported non-serious adverse effects and only 1 subject or 0.08% reported serious adverse effects in the first week following vaccination.

While noting that none of the enrolled subjects who reported adverse effects required hospitalization, he said the study led by Prof Akin Osibogun, a Professor of Community Medicine at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, was carried out by NPHCDA in six States; Anambra, Borno, Edo, Katsina, Lagos and Plateau.

“The overall aim of the observational study was to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in enrolled adult individuals 18 years and above who have received the authorized COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria for the purpose of safety signal detection.

The study sought to estimate the incidence of adverse events following immunization with different brands of the COVID-19 vaccine in all enrolled immunized subjects.

The commonest reported symptoms among vaccinees were tenderness at injection site 20.9% and fever 20.3%. Most of the reported symptoms (55.5%) occurred within the first 3 days of vaccination while 40.2% of the vaccinees with reported symptoms could not recall time of onset of symptoms.

On reported adverse effects of immunization, the agency said it was reported more in the older age groups with 61.5% of those older than 60years reporting symptoms compared to 34.9% of those aged 18-24 years. The difference for age was statistically significant (p=0.003).

Those with pre-existing morbidities were also observed to have higher rates of reported symptoms (AEFIs) than those without pre-existing morbidities even though the observed difference was not statistically significant”. Dr Shuaib explained.

He also said that in line with the NPHCDA commitment to ramp up COVID-19 vaccine uptake, the agency had put in place plans for the establishment of mass vaccination sites across the country, while still maintaining the Federal Government’s free vaccination policy.

“The objective of this strategy is to vaccinate a high volume of individuals through large sites such as Federal institutions (universities, polytechnics), shopping malls, religious centers, sporting events, conference centers, and markets etc. This will require strong collaboration between NPHCDA, State Governments, religious bodies, school authorities and governing bodies of malls and large sporting events. As we expand the vaccination sites, we encourage all eligible Nigerians to avail themselves for vaccination. I am also glad to inform you that we have commenced the process of decentralizing COVID-19 vaccination in Nigeria, to include private health care providers. This is to expand access and increase utilization of the vaccines,” he noted.

The NPHCDA boss said that COVID-19 vaccines will be administered free of charge at both government and private health facilities and the vaccination cards should be given free of charge after vaccination.

“We acknowledge the fact that private health facilities may need to charge for their hospital registration cards which is different from the COVID-19 vaccination cards. To ensure a seamless decentralization, we have begun the training of health workers in the selected private health care facilities and the sensitization of critical stakeholders to create awareness and sensitize them on the plan and the criteria for involving private sector in COVID-19 vaccination and secure their buy-in,” he noted.

He pointed out that the process of involving the private sector would be transparently done in line with the agency pledge of accountability to Nigerians.

Dr Shuaib assured that NPHCDA was putting measures in place to ensure close and effective monitoring and supervision of any participating private health facilities to ensure standards were not compromised.

He, however, said that interested private health facilities would be required to meet certain criteria including having the requisite qualified health care workers, among others.

“To ensure that the vaccines are delivered by private health facilities as expected, we will be engaging in regular supervisory visits to the facilities and will be providing clear rules of engagement to the participating facilities. We solicit your support as the watchdogs of society, to ensure that this decentralization does not compromise the current high quality of our COVID-19 vaccination programme. Any erring facilities will be sanctioned, including blacklisting.

Meanwhile, the UNICEF at the briefing, Dr Opiyo Nixons that the data of vaccinated people presented show an improvement from what was presented last week

He also said that every Nigerian has a role to play in the effort to stem the COVID-19 pandemic by being vaccinated, promoting vaccination, and observing the COVID-19 protocol of wearing face masks, regular hand washing with soap under running water and maintaining physical distancing.

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