By Moses Emorinken, Abuja
The Federal Government Tuesday disclosed that it is expecting the delivery of the second batch of 3.92 million doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine between the end of July and early in August this year.
It noted that the vaccines which will be gotten through the COVAX facility will be from non-Indian sources like South Korea, due to the pandemic situation in India.
It further stated that the administration of the second dose of the covid-19 vaccine will end by June 25, 2021, while it resumes the administration of the first dose of the vaccine in the second phase of vaccination.
It also assured Nigerians that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is 92 percent effective against the Indian (Delta) variant B.1.617.2.
The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, made these known in Abuja, during a joint press briefing on vaccination updates, with the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF.
He said: “As of today, we have administered 1,978,808 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and 680,345-second doses.
“We now have information that Nigeria will get 3.92m doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca by the end of July or early August. As we receive additional information on the exact dates in August, we will provide an update regarding timelines and details of this.
“Recent research from Public Health England (PHE) shows that the Indian (Delta) variant B.1.617.2 is 92 percent susceptible to Oxford/AstraZeneca. It is therefore comforting to know that the vaccine used in Nigeria can protect against this variant that caused high morbidity and mortality in India. However, it underscores the need for us to ramp up our vaccination to more Nigerians.
“I will once again remind those listening that we are advising that all Nigerians who have received their first dose to check their vaccination cards for the date of their first dose and ensure that they receive the second dose between 6 – 12 weeks after their 1st dose to gain full protection against COVID-19.
“Please note that in some cases the location of your second dose may be different from your first dose, so please be sure to confirm this.
“I, therefore, urge all Nigerians who have received their first dose at least six weeks ago to visit the nearest vaccination site to receive their second dose, for full protection against COVID-19 on or before 25th June when we shall close the administration of the second dose.”
He added: “Recall that we officially closed the vaccination for the first dose on 24th May 2021. Since then, we have been inundated with requests by Nigerians to be vaccinated. In response, we have decided to reopen the vaccination for the first dose from today.
“This means anyone 18 years and above who has not been vaccinated should visit the nearest vaccination site for the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. For such persons, their second dose will be due in 12 weeks and by then we would have received the next consignment of vaccines.
“We are ramping up vaccination to avoid an increase in cases as experienced in other African countries.”
Peter Hawkins, the Country Representative of UNICEF, who was represented by Dr Gupta Gagan, urged Nigerians, especially the frontline workers, health workers, and persons with co-morbidities like diabetes, hypertension, asthma etc., to ensure that they get vaccinated.