Mr. Boss Mustapha (2nd right) and Other Personalities During the Officla Launch of COVID-19 Vaccination in Abuja, FCT Photo: Channels TV

Nigeria begins vaccination as NAFDAC certifies AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine safe for use

*The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has cleared the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine for use in Nigeria after it concluded its final test on it, and the formal rollout of vaccines has commenced in Abuja, says Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Minister for Health

*Ngong Cyprian, a Nigerian medical doctor and frontline health worker, makes history as the first person to take COVID-19 Vaccine shot in Nigeria, as the national vaccination exercise commences

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

Following the expected verification and certification for safety and efficacy of the first batch of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Nigeria Friday, March 5, 2021, commenced the mass vaccination against the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) across the country.

ConsumerConnect reports that the health regulatory agency has concluded the final test and certified the vaccine safe for use in the country.

Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Honourable Minister for Health, announced this Friday, March 5, 2021, at an event organized to kick off the national vaccine rollout, held at the National Hospital, in Abuja, FCT.

The Minister disclosed that NAFDAC as the government agency, cleared the Oxford-AstraZeneca Vaccine for use in the country after it concluded its final test on it.

The formal rollout of COVID-19 vaccines has commenced in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

Dr. Ngong Cyprian (left) makes history as first person to take COVID-19 vaccine shot in Nigeria   Photo: Reuters

Dr. Ngong Cyprian, a medical doctor, makes history as first person to take COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria, as the national vaccination exercise commenced Friday in Abuja.

Cyprian has been a frontline health worker since March 2020 – days after the first case of the disease was reported in the country, Channels TV report said.

The event at the National Hospital has in attendance Mr. Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, and other critical stakeholders in the nation’s health sector.

Others present on the occasion include Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora, Honourable Minister of State for Health, and Dr. Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), among others.

Earlier, Dr. Shuaib had told reporters Thursday during a presidential media briefing in the State House, Abuja, FCT, that the country would commence the exercise Friday.

The NPHCDA Executive Director disclosed that the Nigerian Government would kick-off the exercise at the National Hospital, where the frontline health workers in the facility would be the first set of Nigerians to be vaccinated.

He as well informed Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President (Prof.) Yemi Osinbajo are expected to get the vaccine shots Saturday, March 6 after the frontline healthcare workers may have administered the vaccines.

He further noted that members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) would be vaccinated Monday.

According to him, these include Mr. Mustapha and Ministers among other top government functionaries.

Ahead of the distribution to states and local government councils, the government had said the vaccines would be administered in the order of priority, with the frontline health workers on the top of the list.

Dr. Mamora, Honourable Minister of State for Health, while featuring on a Channels TV programme Monday, said that the government would also consider the elderly and the strategic leaders in the country, including President and other key public office holders.

Other scenes at the national COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Abuja   

In terms of the national response to the proposed national vaccination rollout, Shuaib stated that an improved percentage of 50 percent of Nigerians have indicated willingness to be vaccinated while 25 percent remain hesitant for now.

He, however, insisted that the vaccines would not be deployed to any state that has not fulfilled its preparedness criteria.

As regards healthcare service delivery, Dr. Ehanire revealed that the government planned to provide 10-bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in every state of the Federation as part of strategies to provide critical response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He, however, gave an assurance that the focus on COVID-19 prevention and treatment would not wipe out the maintenance of normal routine vaccination.

The Federal Ministry of Health intended to develop as a matter of urgency Nigeria’s emergency medical service to respond to persons with medical distress, said the Minister.

Prof. Adeyeye also announced that NAFDAC would soon commence a ‘track and trace’ exercise to mitigate and potentially halt the infiltration of falsified and sub-standard COVID-19 vaccines already detected in the global supply chain.

According to the Director-General, indigenous software has been employed to check the authenticity of received products.

She noted that NAFDAC is collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Health and NCDC to ensure safe monitoring of medicines in the market.

The NCDC Chief as well stated that since the outbreak of the virus in the country, Nigeria has since maintained a robust response to the pandemic and called for the sustenance of critical investment to the health sector to consolidate the gains achieved in the last one year.

Recall that Nigeria received Tuesday, March 2 its first shipment of 3,924,000 doses of the AstraZeneca Vaccine from COVAX, a World Health Organisation (WHO)-backed initiative.

The facility was set up to procure and ensure equitable distribution of vaccines for free among countries across the world.

The doses of the vaccine arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, in Abuja, before midday via an Emirates airplane from India.

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