NPHCDA inspects COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine donated by UK Govt.

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The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has inspected the 699,760 doses of Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine donated to Nigeria by the UK Government to step up battle against COVID-19 infection.

The Executive Director of NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, said during the inspection at the National Strategic Cold Store in Abuja on Tuesday that Nigeria was among the first 11 African countries to receive the vaccine.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the African countries that got the UK AstraZeneca vaccine donation were; Angola, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda, Zambia and DRC.

The shipment of the UK-donated doses was part of a broader pledge to share 100 million jabs with the rest of the world, of which, 80 per cent would be through COVAX.

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The British Government had already donated approximately five million doses of the vaccine to COVAX and approximately three million doses came to Africa, including the cost of syringes, safety boxes, air freight and other ancillary costs.

Shuaib, while commending the UK Government for the assistance, noted that the vaccines were particularly important in meeting urgent needs and protecting vulnerable populations in the country as the Delta variant spread.

He said “I am glad to inform you that last night, we received 699,760 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine doses from the UK Government. We are most grateful to the government and people of the UK for this gesture.

“This vaccine will be deployed immediately to the states and would be administered as second dose to those who had earlier received only the first dose during the first phase of the vaccination roll out,” he announced.

The NPHCDA boss, therefore, urged all those who received the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine as first dose to visit the nearest vaccination site to receive the second dose to be assured of full protection.

“We have also received communication from the COVAX facility of an additional 801,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the Canadian Government and would be available for delivery by the end of August,” he disclosed.

Shuaib noted that AstraZeneca was a vaccine that Nigerians were all familiar with and the health workers were experienced in its administration and management.

He added that its storage requirement was the same as most of the routine vaccines at temperatures of +20C +8oC.

He assured Nigerians that all vaccines certified by NAFDAC were highly effective against COVID-19 virus, including the Delta variant.

He reiterated the fact that “the World Health Organisation (WHO) did not approve mixing of different brands of COVID-19 vaccine. The same vaccine must be taken for both first and second dose.”

He, therefore, urged all persons 18 years and above that were due for the second dose of the AstraZeneca to visit the vaccination site and encourage friends, families and neighbours to do same to ensure full protection from the virus.

Earlier, Ms Gill Atkinson, acting British High Commissioner to Nigeria, while presenting the vaccines, said it was for the wellbeing of Nigerians.

According to her, the UK is one of the first countries to support COVAX with 548 million pounds and continued to push for global effort that will help every country to receive the vaccine against COVID-19.

She added that “I am so pleased to see Nigeria receive 699,760 doses donated by the UK in the second batch of the vaccine through COVAX.

“This is the first tranche of the 1,299,760 doses expected to be donated by the UK through COVAX. Only by vaccinating more people around the world we can we bring an end to the global pandemic.”

She added that the UK had donated approximately five million doses to COVAX to be sent to African countries and three million of those doses were sent to Africa.

Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, the WHO Country Representative, said that the Nigerian COVID-19 vaccines were growing and opening prospects to cover eligible population toward achieving herd immunity.

Mulombo commended the Federal Government for putting so much effort in place to make COVID-19 vaccination a reality as the country continued to fight the third wave of the pandemic. (NAN)

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