Nigerians Assured of the Efficacy of AstraZeneca Vaccine Despite Growing Global Concerns

Despite the growing global concerns over possible side effects of Oxford/AstraZeneca, COVID-19 vaccine such as blood clotting, the Presidential Task Force, PTF, has assured Nigerians of its safety, stating that the clinical trials had shown that the side effects are “generally mild’’.

Dr Mukhtar Muhammad, the National Incident Manager (NIM) of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 made this known in Abuja at the joint national briefing of the task force.

He further went on to state that the World Health Organisation had in the last few days, through a series of briefings, vouched for the vaccine’s safety as its efficacy level has been proven to be  about 70 percent.

Recently, it’s been reported that Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Netherlands have joined the list of other European countries to suspend the use of the vaccine over concerns that it causes blood clots and even death in severe cases.

“We have seen in the news how some countries have deferred the usage of this vaccine or have suspended its use. That list of the European countries is growing.

“It is very reassuring to see that the regulatory agencies in those countries have continued to emphasise that the vaccine is safe and that the incidence of blood clots reported in the patients is not higher than the risk of blood clotting in people who are not vaccinated. That is really something reassuring.”

Dr Mukhtar equally advised those who feel symptoms or bodily reactions to the vaccine for more than 24 hours to report through the appropriate channels at the state level.

Also, the executive director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, while speaking at the briefing, disclosed that over 8,000 persons have received the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccines so far and the agency has not received any official report of serious adverse effects from those who have been vaccinated as it is also working closely with NAFDAC to monitor any unusual adverse reactions. 

He however said that mild side effects such as pain and swelling at the site of the vaccination are expected, noting that all state governors apart from Kogi have launched the vaccination programme.

He assured Nigerians that the Federal Government through the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 is firmly committed to a safe and successful vaccination program in the country as no safety and efficacy standards will be compromised on the part of the government.

“His Excellency, the President and the Vice were vaccinated with AstraZeneca vaccine. Many other leaders across the country – Governors, Traditional Leaders, Heads of MDAs, including myself have received the first dose of the vaccine, and I am glad to inform you that we are all doing fine” he said.

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