The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) has advised Nigerians not to allow the fear of side-effects of COVID-19 vaccines discourage them from taking the jab.
Executive Director of the agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, gave the advice during the weekly COVID-19 update by the agency.
He said the long-term benefits of getting vaccinated far outweigh the risk of brief side effects, and that Nigeria has not recorded any case of death directly linked to COVID-19 vaccination.
He said, “Cases of mild, moderate and severe reactions that have been recorded are expected from normal vaccination and people who experienced any of these have since recovered and are doing well.
“Therefore, we should not allow the fear of side effects to discourage us from taking the vaccine, as the long-term benefits of getting vaccinated far outweigh the risk of brief side effects.”
He said as of Thursday, 2,099,568 people have been vaccinated with their first doses while 1,005,234 have received their second doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
He said government reopened administration of the first dose to address the increase in vaccine demand by people who were yet to be vaccinated at all, adding that the agency decided to extend the administration of the second dose of the vaccine until 5th of July, as against the initial closing date of 25th of June.
Dr Shuaib said full vaccination does not exempt people who have received their second doses of the vaccine from observing the infection prevention and control measures.
He said it is very important for everyone, including those who have received their second doses, to continue to wear face masks and observe other non-pharmaceutical measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
He said Nigeria has experienced great frustration regarding the global vaccine supply, adding that not only have there been huge challenges with respect to vaccine manufacturers producing enough vaccines for the world, but there also has been great inequity in terms of distribution.
“Most countries of the world have received few, and in some cases no vaccines. This is a problem that needs to be solved urgently and we are communicating this very clearly to our international partners on behalf of Nigerians.
“Recently, we are encouraged by the swell of contributions and pledges from major nations into COVAX. Rich nations of the world are showing greatly increased recognition that there must be more supply produced and it must be distributed much more fairly, and they are becoming active in solving this.
“Just a few days ago, the US White House reconfirmed it will send an initial 80 million doses internationally by the end of this month, with additional shipments continuing to ramp up thereafter.
“These supplies and other large donations of vaccines to COVAX that are now planned will enable COVAX to supply new consignments to Nigeria and other nations that need vaccines now,” he said.