The Federal Government has explained why it chose to administer its stock of four million Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses at two doses in close intervals on about two million people.
The government says it chose this against seeking to exhaust its available stock on four million people at one dose only to find that there is no readily available vaccine for second dose administration.
The Executive Director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib who made the explanation at a Northeast Zonal Townhall Meeting on COVID-19 vaccination in Yola on Monday, said the agency provided the first COVID-19 vaccine doses to 1,966,548 Nigerians, representing about 98% of those targeted in the first wave of the nation’s vaccination exercise.
He added that the government has so far reached 358,239 people since the beginning of the administration of the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“We have seen that there are delays in vaccine shipments all over the world, including to us here in Nigeria. We saw that there would be a risk that Nigerians would receive the first dose and then too much time would pass between the first and second dose before a new shipment arrived.”
“For these vaccines to work effectively, for full inoculation against COVID-19, it is advised that two doses are administered and that they are administered no more than 12 weeks apart. We are confident that this was the right decision.”
Earlier at the zonal town hall meeting which had representatives of people from the six states of the Northeast in attendance, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, announced that the country is expecting the second batch of COVID-19 vaccine doses next month, even as the country continues the second dose administration on the first batch of four million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine received in March this year.