Pfizer Seeks Authorisation For 3rd COVID-19 Shot As Vaccine Efficacy Drops

A medical worker shows a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on February 12, 2021 at the Tapparelli Retirement Home in Saluzzo, near Cuneo, Northwestern Italy, during a vaccination campaign for people over 80.
Marco Bertorello / AFP

 

 

Pfizer and BioNTech announced Thursday they would seek regulatory authorization for a third dose of their COVID-19 vaccine.

It comes after initial data from an ongoing trial showed a third shot pushed antibody levels five to 10 times higher against the original coronavirus strain and the Beta variant, first found in South Africa, compared to the first two doses alone, according to a statement.

“The companies expect to publish more definitive data soon as well as in a peer-reviewed journal and plan to submit the data to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), EMA (European Medicines Agency) and other regulatory authorities in the coming weeks,” the statement said.

In addition, the companies expect that a third dose will perform similarly well against the highly transmissible Delta strain, which is quickly becoming globally dominant.

Out of caution, the companies are also developing a Delta-specific vaccine, the first batch of which has been manufactured at BioNTech’s facility in Mainz, Germany.

The companies anticipate the clinical studies will begin in August, subject to regulatory approvals.

Based on drop-offs in efficacy seen in Israel after six months, the companies said they believe a third dose may be needed within six to 12 months after full vaccination

“While protection against severe disease remained high across the full 6 months, a decline in efficacy against symptomatic disease over time and the continued emergence of variants are expected,” the statement said.

The FDA and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a joint statement late Thursday saying authorities were studying “whether or when a booster might be necessary.”

“Americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time,” the agencies said. “We are prepared for booster doses if and when the science demonstrates that they are needed.”

Vaccine Used In Nigeria Can Protect Against Indian COVID-19 Variant – NPHCDA

In this file photo, a vial containing the COVID-19 vaccine by AstraZeneca and a syringe are seen on a table. AFP
In this file photo, a vial containing the COVID-19 vaccine by AstraZeneca and a syringe are seen on a table. AFP

 

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency has called on Nigerians to continue to take the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

Addressing reporters on Tuesday in Abuja, the Executive Director of the NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, stated that the vaccine was not only effective but was capable of protecting people against the Indian variant of the virus.

“Recent research from Public Health England (PHE) shows that the Indian (Delta) variant B.1.617.2 is 92% susceptible to Oxford/AstraZeneca,” he said at the briefing to update Nigerians on the status of COVID-19 vaccination.

Shuaib added, “It is, therefore, comforting to know that the vaccine used in Nigeria can protect against this variant that caused high morbidity and mortality in India. However, it underscores the need for us to ramp up our vaccination to more Nigerians.”

He announced that the Nigerian government has reopened the administration of the first dose of the vaccine effective from Tuesday, in response to requests by Nigerians to be vaccinated.

The NPHCDA boss noted that the vaccination for the first dose was officially closed on May 24 and appealed to persons of 18 years and above that were yet to take the jab to visit the nearest vaccination site for the first dose of the vaccine.

He explained that such persons would be due to receive their second dose of the jab in 12 weeks, noting that Nigeria would have received the next consignment of vaccines.

The NPHCDA boss said dedicated teams have continued to make strides in the vaccine rollout, working hand-in-hand with the local communities all across the country.

As of June 15, he revealed that the agency has administered 1,978,808 and 680,345 first and second doses of the vaccine respectively.

Shuaib called on all Nigerians who have received their first dose to check their vaccination cards for the date of their first dose.

He asked them to ensure that they receive the second dose between six and 12 weeks from the date they took the first dose, to gain full protection against the COVID-19 virus.

Nigeria To Get 3.92m More COVID-19 Vaccine Doses ‘End Of July Or Early August’, Says FG

NPHCDA Executive Director, Dr Faisal Shuaib, flanked by two men at a press briefing in Abuja on June 15, 2021.

 

Nigeria will receive additional 3.92 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine latest in early August.

Dr Faisal Shuaib, who disclosed this to reporters on Tuesday in Abuja, however, did not give the exact dates as to when the country would take delivery of the vaccines.

“We now have information that Nigeria will get 3.92 million doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca by end of July or early August,” the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) said at the briefing to update Nigerians on the status of COVID-19 vaccination.

He added, “As we receive additional information on the exact dates in August, we will provide an update regarding timelines and details of this.”

The NPHCDA boss noted that the agency has held town halls in the North-central and north-east regions of the country.

He stated that while efforts to ensure the supply of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines were ongoing, the Presidential Steering Committee would hold its planned meeting with stakeholders in the south-south region and the larger communities on COVID-19 vaccination on the course of the week.

 

A Curfew Remains In Place

Shuaib stressed that the NPHCDA was fully committed to going to communities to discuss directly its vaccine effort, the importance of staying safe and protected against COVID-19, and answering the questions people have.

“We have been really grateful for the high levels of participation and interest in these events. We are confident that through continued awareness-raising, we will be able to keep communities safe and healthy,” he said.

 

The NPHCDA boss raised an alarm that there has been a rise in COVID-19 cases in several African countries recently and called on all Nigerians to continue to take precautions to prevent the spread of the disease.

According to him, wearing a face-covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces can save lives and a curfew remains in place from midnight until 4am every day.

Shuaib added, “Indoor gatherings must be limited to 50 people, and are only permitted if all attendees abide by social distancing and wear face masks.

“And the government has introduced restrictions on incoming travel from high-risk countries and quarantine requirements to keep Nigerians safe. With a virus like COVID-19, we each must do our part to keep our communities safe.”

FG Reopens First Dose COVID-19 Vaccination, Says Second Dose To End June 25

NPHCDA Executive Director, Dr Faisal Shuaib, flanked by two men at a press briefing in Abuja on June 15, 2021.

 

The Nigerian government has reopened the administration of the first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in various parts of the country.

This takes effect from Tuesday, according to the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib.

“Recall that we officially closed the vaccination for the first dose on May 24, 2021. Since then, we have been inundated with requests by Nigerians to be vaccinated,” he told reporters on Tuesday in Abuja at a briefing to update Nigerians on the status of COVID-19 vaccination.

Shuaib added, “In response, we have decided to reopen vaccination for the first dose from today.

“This means anyone 18 years and above who has not been vaccinated should visit the nearest vaccination site for the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.”

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s Headline Inflation Drops To 17.93%, But Food Prices Rise

A file photo of a medical doctor receiving the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine at the National Hospital in Abuja on March 5, 2021.

 

He explained that such persons would be due to receive their second dose of the jab in 12 weeks, noting that Nigeria would have received the next consignment of vaccines.

The NPHCDA boss noted that dedicated teams have continued to make strides in the vaccine rollout, working hand-in-hand with the local communities all across the country.

As of June 15, he disclosed that the agency has administered 1,978,808 and 680,345 first and second doses of the vaccine respectively.

Shuaib called on all Nigerians who have received their first dose to check their vaccination cards for the date of their first dose.

 

He asked them to ensure that they receive the second dose between six and 12 weeks from the date they took the first dose, to gain full protection against the COVID-19 virus.

The NPHCDA boss stated that in some cases, the location of the second dose could be different from that of the first dose.

“I, therefore, urge all Nigerians who have received their first dose at least six weeks ago to visit the nearest vaccination site to receive their second dose, for full protection against COVID-19 on or before June 25 when we shall close the administration of the second dose,” he pleaded.

China To Offer COVID-19 Vaccine To Children As Young As Three

Passengers wearing face masks wait for their train at Changsha railway station in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province on March 10, 2020. Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Wuhan on March 10 for his first visit to the epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic since the crisis erupted in January -- a major sign that officials believe the outbreak is under control. Noel Celis AFP
Passengers wearing face masks wait for their train at Changsha railway station in Changsha, China’s central Hunan province on March 10, 2020. (Photo by Noel Celis / AFP)

 

 

China has approved the emergency use of a Covid-19 vaccine for those as young as three, the drugmaker confirmed Tuesday, making it the first country to offer jabs to young children.

Since the coronavirus first emerged in central China, Beijing has mostly managed to bring the country’s outbreak under control, and has administered over 777 million vaccine doses after a sluggish start.

A spokesperson for Sinovac told AFP its vaccine had been approved for use on children.

“In recent days, the Sinovac vaccine was approved for emergency use in three- to 17-year-olds,” the spokesperson said.

But he did not confirm when the young children would be able to start receiving the shots, saying the schedule for the rollout will be decided by the National Health Commission “according to China’s current epidemic prevention and control needs and vaccine supply”.

The company has completed early phase trials of the vaccine in children and adolescents, with results to be published shortly in the Lancet scientific journal, the spokesperson added.

State broadcaster CCTV reported over the weekend that an unnamed official in the State Council’s epidemic response task force had said vaccines had been approved for children, and “the safety and effectiveness” had been proven.

A spokesperson for China’s other major vaccine, Sinopharm, said that experts had demonstrated the effectiveness of its vaccine in children, but didn’t confirm whether it had been approved for use.

Chinese officials have said they are aiming to inoculate 70 percent of the population of 1.41 billion by the end of this year.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved both the Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines for emergency use in adults aged 18 and older, and both jabs are being administered in several countries around the world.

While the WHO does not currently recommend vaccinating children against coronavirus, the United States, Britain, Singapore and the European Union have approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for those as young as 12.

China reported 33 new Covid-19 cases Tuesday, including 19 in southern Guangdong province where authorities have been battling a local outbreak.

WHO Warns Of June-July Covax Doses Shortfall

A carton box of a Covishield vaccine developed by Pune based Serum Institute of India (SII) is unloaded at Mumbai airport on February 24, 2021, as part of the Covax scheme, which aims to procure and distribute inoculations fairly among all nations.
INDRANIL MUKHERJEE / AFP

 

 

The World Health Organization said Friday a shortfall in COVID-19 vaccine doses going through the Covax programme in June and July could undermine the efficiency of the roll-out.

Covax was set up to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines, particularly to low-income countries, and has already delivered more than 80 million doses to 129 territories.

But that is “about 200 million doses behind where we want to be”, Bruce Aylward, the WHO’s Covax frontman, told reporters in Geneva.

So while wealthy countries had pledged to give some 150 million doses so far — on top of the doses Covax procures with donated funds — that would not resolve the problem.

“We are setting up for failure if we don’t get early doses. We are not on track yet: we don’t have enough doses from enough countries early enough to get the world on track to get out of this,” Aylward said.

While the pledges to donate 150 million doses through Covax was a “great start”, Aylward said there were “two big problems”.

“Number one, very little is committed to the June-July period, which means we’re going to still have this gap,” Aylward said.

“The other problem is just the volume. If we are going to get on track to get at least 30-40 percent of the world population vaccinated this year we got to get another 250 million people vaccinated between now and the end of September.”

Supply problems

Covax is an international scheme co-led by the WHO, Gavi and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

It intends to procure enough vaccines for 30 percent of the population in 92 of the poorest participating territories — 20 percent in India — with donors covering the cost.

Covax has been hit by inequalities in the global vaccine roll-out, but also delivery delays.

AstraZeneca shots making up 97 percent of doses supplied so far — the rest being Pfizer-BioNTech.

The Serum Institute of India, producing AstraZeneca doses, was to have been the backbone of Covax’s supply chain. However, New Delhi restricted vaccine exports to combat a devastating domestic surge.

SII said Wednesday that it hoped to resume supplies to Covax over the next few months.

Covax was set up to combat the likelihood of rich countries buying up most available vaccine doses — which occurred as predicted.

On Thursday, the world hit the milestone of two billion Covid-19 vaccines having been injected around the world, according to an AFP count.

But of those doses, 37 percent have been administered in high-income countries accounting for 16 percent of the global population.

Just 0.3 percent have been administered in the 29 lowest-income countries, home to nine percent of the world’s people.

Burkina Faso Receives First Batch Of COVID-19 Vaccine

PHOTO USED TO ILLUSTRATE THE STORY: Burkina Faso’s President Roch Marc Christian Kabore (Photo by Issouf SANOGO / AFP)

 

Burkina Faso has received the first batch of 115,200 doses of Covid-19 vaccines, funded by the international Covax scheme to enable the poor West African state to launch a vaccination drive on Wednesday.

“We welcome the first doses of vaccine against Covid-19 in Burkina Faso,” Burkinabe Health Minister Charlemagne Ouedraogo said as the consignment arrived at Ouagadougou airport late Sunday.

“Thanks to scientific progress, we now have another arsenal for the fight” against Covid, Ouedraogo added.

The nationwide drive set to begin Wednesday will target people most at risk, Ouedraogo told AFP.

READ ALSO: ECOWAS Suspends Mali Over Second Coup In Nine Months

The health ministry said in addition to the vulnerable, the first phase would target health workers and “candidates for the pilgrimage to Mecca”.

Co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Covax programme aims to ensure equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines.

It brings UN agencies including the World Health Organization and the UN children’s agency UNICEF together with sovereign donors and the private sector to provide low-income countries with significant supplies regardless of their ability to pay.

Burkina Faso initially intends to vaccinate three percent of a population estimated at more than 20 million.

Eventually a total of nearly 10 million Burkinabes are expected to get jabs.

Burkina Faso, which has reported 13,430 coronavirus cases and 166 deaths, is one of few nations in West Africa that has yet to launch a vaccination drive.

Also Monday, a health official in Niger told AFP it has “loaned” 100,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Ivory Coast, whose vaccination drive is stepping up and may otherwise have faced shortfalls.

The doses were handed over in a ceremony on Sunday in the capital Niamey attended by Ivory Coast’s consul in Niger as well as Ivorian health officials.

Ivory Coast will pay back the loan once it receives an expected shipment, the head of the Ivorian delegation said over radio.

Niger has so far received 780,000 doses of vaccines including 400,000 Sinopharm doses donated by China, 355,000 AstraZeneca through the Covax programme, and an Indian donation of 25,000 doses, also of AstraZeneca.

Niger has been relatively unscathed by Covid with 5,410 cases including 192 deaths, while Ivory Coast, with a population of 25 million, has recorded 47,000 cases and more than 300 deaths.

AFP

Over 4,600 People Have Taken Second Dose Of COVID-19 Vaccine – NPHCDA

A file photo of a medical doctor receiving the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine at the National Hospital in Abuja on March 5, 2021.

 

The Federal Government has begun to administer the second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to eligible persons in the country.

A total of 4,683 people have taken the second jab, said Dr Faisal Shuaib who is the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).

He made the disclosure on Tuesday in Abuja at a press conference to update Nigerians on the status of the vaccination exercise.

Shuaib noted that the agency has almost completed administering all first doses as of Monday.

According to him, 1,929,237 Nigerians have been captured so far, representing 96 per cent of the targeted population.

“We are advising that all Nigerians who have received their first dose should check their vaccination cards for the date of their second dose, and ensure that they receive the second dose to gain full protection against COVID-19,” he said.

The NPHCDA chief added, “As we transition to administering second doses, our teams have assessed the communication and mobilisation activities that have been undertaken thus far to create awareness for the COVID-19 vaccine and encourage uptake.

“We will be building on the work we have already done in these areas to ensure that Nigerians can easily access accurate information about COVID-19 vaccination.”

He explained that the objective was to do everything possible to educate, combat misinformation, and ensure confidence in the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, and ensure all Nigerians have clear information on how, where, and when to get the vaccine.

Shuaib gave the assurance that the agency would continue engagement and communication with communities across the country, noting that the success recorded with the first dose was the collective efforts of all stakeholders.

He, however, acknowledged the challenges of vaccine supply in the global community, hinting that Nigeria may receive the next consignment of vaccines by end of July or August, although the information has not been officially confirmed.

“When we are able to, we will provide an update regarding timelines and details of the next shipment. At present, we do not have that information available due to the wider context we are in. However, we can update you on some positive developments.

“Pfizer and BioNTech pledged on Friday of last week to provide one billion doses of their COVID-19 vaccine to low-and-middle-income countries by the end of 2021, and another one billion doses in 2022,” the NPHCDA chief disclosed.

Niger Governor, Cabinet Members Take Second Dose Of COVID-19 Vaccine

In this file photo, a vial containing the COVID-19 vaccine by AstraZeneca and a syringe are seen on a table. AFP
In this file photo, a vial containing the COVID-19 vaccine by AstraZeneca and a syringe are seen on a table. AFP

 

Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, has received the second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as the state government flags off the second phase of the exercise.

He took the jab on Thursday along with his deputy and members of the State Executive Council who attended the weekly council meeting at the Government House in Minna, the state capital.

Speaking after receiving the second jab, Governor Bello noted that turnout for the first phase of the vaccination exercise was impressive.

He encouraged those who took the first dose to ensure they receive the second jab and called on those who have yet to take the first dose to endeavour they do so as soon as they can.

“I want to assure everyone that the vaccine is safe, I encourage you to take it. It will keep you and your loved ones at least safe; the older ones, especially should take it,” the governor said.

He had received the first dose of the vaccine on March 9 and directed all the State Executive Council members to take the vaccine or not be allowed into the weekly meetings of the council.

In his remarks, the Commissioner for Health and Hospital Services in Niger, Dr Muhammad Makusidi, said the state has received a total of 89,600 doses as of May 20.

He explained that 44,860 doses were used in the first phase, stressing that enough doses were available for the second phase of the vaccination exercise.

The commissioner gave an assurance that all eligible persons for the second dose would be administered the vaccine.

Giving a brief on the current status of the state on COVID-19, he noted that Niger has confirmed 930 positive cases, including 66 health workers and 20 deaths.

Makusidi, however, stated that there has not been any positive case in the state in the last two months, saying the government has continued to carry out measures to combat the further spread of the disease.

Taraba Receives More COVID-19 Vaccines, Immunises Almost All Health Workers

A file photo of a medical doctor receiving the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

 

The industrial action by the organised labour and resident doctors in Taraba in the time past has hampered the resolve of the state government to meet its target of vaccinating over 50,000 people against COVID-19 in the state.

Mr Hassan Mafindi, the Executive Secretary of the State Primary Health Care Development Agency, told reporters on Monday in Jalingo, the state capital that they have so far vaccinated over 23,000 residents.

He disclosed that the state has received 40,020 more doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, in addition to the 56,250 doses earlier received.

The agency boss stated that not until the first phase of the vaccination was over, they cannot commence the second phase.

He said frontline workers in all facets of human endeavour would be considered because about 90 per cent of the health workers in the state have taken the vaccine jab.

“The factor for the second jab is the completion of the first batch of the vaccination and also for people that have been able to access the first jab.

“As I speak to you, we are no longer talking about frontline health workers but frontline workers because we have successfully vaccinated over 90 per cent of our health workers and what our target is now are the frontline workers, who include media workers, drivers, teachers, lecturers, and others,” said Mafindi.

He, however, decried that some residents have developed a nonchalant attitude towards their health by refusing to observe the non-pharmaceutical measures against COVID-19.

“People mingle freely without taking cognisance of the use of facemasks and other safety measures. We need to be proactive in dealing with COVID-19 – it is a pandemic and not an endemic.

“We have seen what is happening in India and other countries where lives are lost as a result of the ailment and none of us would like to have a similar scenario in our country and for us to achieve that, we need to adhere strictly to the non-pharmaceutical approach,” he health agency boss said.

He added, “It is not cost-effective and we as an agency will continue to educate our people at different levels to ensure compliance.”

Nigeria To Receive 29.8 Million Doses Of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine

(FILE) Bottles of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson Janssen COVID-19 vaccine await transfer into syringes for administering on April 23, 2021. JORGE GUERRERO / AFP

 

The Nigerian government is expecting about 29.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine, Dr Faisal Shuaib said on Monday.

Shuaib, the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), disclosed this at the weekly media briefing of the COVID-19 Presidential Steering Committee in Abuja.

He added that the government signed off to receive the vaccines through the African Union (AU), while vaccine deliveries through the COVAX facility were expected by the end of May or early June.

The NPHCDA boss noted that by then, Nigeria would have completed the process of administering the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine to those who got the first dose.

He revealed that the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has continued discussions with manufacturers to examine their vaccines, in anticipation of emergency use listing from the World Health Organisation.

Shuaib explained that this was to mitigate the negative concerns about the delayed deliveries of AstraZeneca vaccines, thereby ensuring the sustained supply of vaccines for the smooth continuation of the exercise.

He noted that as of April 26, a total of 1,173, 869 Nigerians, representing 58.3 per cent of the eligible persons targeted in the first phase have received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

A file photo of Dr Faisal Shuaib.

 

The NPHCDA boss, however, decried the global scarcity of COVID-19 vaccines due to high demand, especially in countries where the vaccines were being produced.

According to him, the government anticipates a delay in vaccine supply to Nigeria which may also affect and impact the remaining phases of the vaccination exercise.

Read the text of Dr Shuaib’s speech at the briefing below:

SPEECH BY DR FAISAL SHUAIB, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL PRIMARY HEALTH CARE DEVELOPMENT AGENCY (NPHCDA) AT THE WEEKLY MEDIA BRIEFING OF THE COVID-19 PRESIDENTIAL STEERING COMMITTEE ON MONDAY 26TH APRIL 2021 IN ABUJA.

____________

PROTOCOLS

 

Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press and welcome to this week’s briefing.

I am delighted to be here to interact with you once again and I appreciate the great work you are doing to support the Government in this collective fight against COVID-19.

In our sustained efforts to contain the threat of COVID-19 pandemic and protect citizens, the Federal Government through NPHCDA under the guidance of the Presidential Steering Committee and the Federal Ministry of Health has continued to implement several preventive measures in order to save lives.

The vaccination against COVID-19 is currently ongoing in all States of the Federation. Our collaboration with health officials and other stakeholders at the National, State, LGA and community levels in the vaccination exercise has yielded substantial results.

I am pleased to inform you that as at April 26th 2021, 1,173, 869 Nigerians, representing 58.3 % of the eligible persons targeted in this current phase, have received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Notwithstanding the above successes, we are aware of the global scarcity of COVID-19 vaccines due to high demand, especially in countries where the vaccines are being produced. We, therefore, anticipate a delay in vaccine supply to Nigeria which may also affect and impact the remaining phases of the vaccination campaign.

However, in response to the anticipated delay, the Federal Government has rationalized the vaccination exercise by preserving 50% of available doses of the vaccine for administration of the second doses.

Each State of the Federation, including FCT, are currently administering only 50% of their allocated doses of vaccines. The remaining 50% will be administered to clients who had earlier received the first dose, and this would be scheduled between 8 – 12 weeks from the date of their first dose. Data from this exercise are being uploaded and updated by States on the Electronic Management Platform.

Furthermore, the Federal Government has signed off to receive up to 29.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine through the African Union (AU). We are also expecting deliveries of vaccines through the COVAX facility by the end of May or early June 2021.

By this time, we would have completed the process of administering the second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to those who got the first dose. In the meantime, NAFDAC is continuing discussions with manufacturers and examining their vaccines, in anticipation of Emergency Use Listing from the World Health Organisation.

We hope that these will mitigate the negative concerns about the delayed deliveries of AstraZeneca vaccines, thereby ensuring the sustained supply of vaccines for smooth continuation of our vaccination exercise.

To further strengthen vaccine security and accountability, we are deepening our collaboration with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Our partnership in this regard is also aimed at further curbing cases of vaccine mismanagement and other anticipated sharp practices at the vaccination sites.

The Agency has taken delivery of 2,250 tablets as donation from CACOVID, to help health facilities with the registration process and making it less cumbersome for data capture in our electronic data register.

We, therefore, encourage all eligible residents of Nigeria to continue to register for vaccination through the NPHCDA website, and we guarantee that every registered person will be scheduled and vaccinated in the coming phases of the exercise accordingly.

Let me state from available scientific records and investigations by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine, among others, is safe and efficacious. Our national regulatory body, NAFDAC has also certified that the vaccine is safe and strongly recommends its continued use for all eligible age groups.

May I, also, reiterate that we shall continue to collaborate with the NAFDAC Pharmacovigilance team to monitor the administration of the vaccine and document any adverse reactions following the vaccination with the COVID-19 vaccine. We believe this would further assure Nigerians that the government has made a safe choice of vaccine for protecting our people against COVID-19.

Having provided the above information, so far, we have documentation of Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI). There have been 8,711 cases of mild AEFIs, while there have been 52 instances of moderate to severe AEFIs. Kaduna, Cross River, Yobe, Kebbi and Lagos continue to lead other states in terms of the numbers of cases.

In furtherance of our sensitization and mobilisation efforts for successful COVID-19 vaccination campaign, NPHCDA in collaboration with the PSC, NOA, Development partners and other stakeholders; we are conducting Town Hall meetings in all the six (6) geo-political zones to address public concerns and hesitancy on the COVID-19 vaccine and vaccination.

We have so far successfully staged the North Central Zonal Town Hall meeting in Lafia which was hosted by the Nasarawa State government. The event is scheduled to be replicated in the remaining zones in the weeks ahead.

During the recent town Hall meeting, health experts took turns to further educate and sensitize Nigerians on the benefits of vaccination, as a means of protecting themselves, their families and their communities, and that this will ultimately facilitate the return of our communities to social and economic normalcy.

Gentlemen of the press, I would therefore enjoin you to prioritise the sensitization and education of the general public on the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine through your media for attainment of success in the COVID-19 vaccination campaign and other public health interventions.

It is evident that our collective efforts to protect Nigerians against COVID-19 is so far yielding positive results and we must sustain the momentum in order to achieve our desired goal of a healthy citizenry.

Thank you immensely once again for your time and attention!

Dr. Faisal Shuaib

ED/CEO NPHCDA

COVID-19: WHO Rejects Proof Of Vaccination For International Travel

A picture of the billboard of the World Health Organization (WHO)

 

The World Health Organization’s emergency committee said Monday it was against international travellers being required to have proof of vaccination, partly on grounds such a measure would deepen inequities.

“Do not require proof of vaccination as a condition of entry, given the limited (although growing) evidence about the performance of vaccines in reducing transmission and the persistent inequity in the global vaccine distribution,” the committee said in a statement summarising its April 15 meeting, the results of which were only published on Monday.

“States Parties are strongly encouraged to acknowledge the potential for requirements of proof of vaccination to deepen inequities and promote differential freedom of movement,” the committee added.

The group’s recommendation comes as numerous countries are mulling launching vaccine passports for travellers but also for other activities including sports.

READ ALSO: France To Impose Quarantine On Arrivals From Four Countries

The idea, however, has met with criticism, with many saying it would lead to discrimination between young and old as well as rich and poor. Some have also raised privacy concerns.

European Union member states have already agreed on vaccine certificates, China has launched a health certificate program for travellers and airline companies are also considering requiring vaccination proof.

The United States for its part said earlier this month that it would not require vaccination passports but added that the private sector was free to explore the idea.

The WHO’s emergency committee also discussed other issues during its meeting last week including increasing access to COVID-19 vaccines and reducing national and global inequities as far as access to vaccines.

The committee also urged the WHO to accelerate research on the origins of the vaccine and called for better regulations on animal markets.

In addition, it said “the sale or import of wild animals that pose a high risk of transmission of novel pathogens from animals to humans or vice versa” should be discouraged.

The WHO for now has only approved three vaccines for the coronavirus — the one manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech, the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine made in India and South Korea, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The novel coronavirus, which is thought to have made the species jump from the animal world, has now killed more than three million people worldwide since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019.

AFP