The Federal Government and the World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday disclosed that since the COVID-19 vaccination with AstraZeneca vaccine began on the 15th of March 2021, there has been no record of deaths and blood clotting across the country.
The government however stated that a total of 8,439 mild adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) have been reported, such as pain, swelling at the site of the inoculation, body pains, and nausea. Also, 52 cases of moderate to severe incidents of AEFI have been reported, such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness, and allergic reactions.
It further revealed that five states have the highest records of the AEFI, namely: Kaduna (970) Cross River (859), Yobe (541), Kebbi (511), and Lagos (448).
The Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, made these known in Abuja at a press briefing on updates on the status of COVID-19 vaccination.
He said: “In Nigeria, since the vaccination program was officially rolled out on 15th of March 2021, a total of 8,439 mild Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI) have been reported. These range from pain, swelling at the site of the inoculation, to body pains and nausea. Similarly, 52 cases of moderate to severe incidents of AEFI have been reported. These are presented as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness and allergic reactions. Five states have the highest records of the AEFI namely: Kaduna (970) Cross River (859), Yobe (541), Kebbi (511), and Lagos (448).
“There has been no death from administration of the vaccine. We have also not diagnosed any case of blood clots related to the administration of the vaccines. Nevertheless, we are working with NAFDAC, NCDC and other relevant agencies to set up a more active surveillance system built on our experience with polio surveillance,” he said.
He added: “At this juncture, I would like to provide an update on the vaccine accountability issues that erupted in Falomo Clinic, Lagos State. There has been a rich engagement with the Governor of the Lagos State and his Health team, led by the Hon. Commissioner for Health. A rapid fact-finding team was established to investigate the veracity of these reports not only in the said Falomo Clinic but in designated health facilities all over the State.
“The information reaching us is that these reports of widespread mismanagement of the vaccination process were inaccurate and do not represent what transpired in these locations. One thing that the PSC and the Lagos State Government are aligned behind, is zero tolerance to diversion of COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccine is free to all Nigerians irrespective of social standing. The current batch of vaccines is made available, courtesy of the COVAX facility, to ensure equal access to the COVID-19 vaccines by all countries. Equity, fairness and social justice are at the core of why COVAX was established. For us at the PSC and the Federal Ministry of Health, these are our guiding principles, our North Star, as we distribute and administer the vaccines to our beloved citizens.”
“We are not unaware of attempts by individuals who are not eligible to access the vaccines. With willing accomplices, it will not be surprising that some may succeed. When people skip the eligibility lines we have established to access the COVID-19 vaccines ahead of frontline health and other workers, then they should ask themselves if it is ethically and morally right to jump the queue ahead of those who need the vaccines the most.”
“As of today, April 16th, 1,071,346, representing 53.2 percent of the eligible persons targeted with the Astrazeneca vaccine, have been administered with their first dose in this vaccination phase,” he said.
The Country Representative of WHO, Dr. Walter Kazardi, added: “WHO advises that countries should continue to vaccinate with AstraZeneca vaccine which has saved millions of lives and prevented several illnesses. All the vaccines being rolled out so far are close to 100 percent effective when it comes to preventing severe disease and death, and that should be our real objective as we roll out this vaccination program.”