The Executive Director of the National Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) Dr. Faisal Shuaibu, has said that 2.3 million Nigerians have registered for the COVID-19 vaccination, 24 hours after the portal was launched on Monday.
Shuaibu said this on Wednesday in Abuja on a live television programme.
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According to him, this shows that there are no fears that people may not want to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and that Nigerians are enthusiastic about taking the jabs.
“I can tell you that there is a lot of excitement although, some people have raised their concerns and we are trying to address them but the enthusiasm is in less than 24 hours that the portal was launched, we have recorded about 2.3 million Nigerians who have registered to be vaccinated and the number continues to grow adding that the task placed on Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Federal Ministry of Health and NPHCDA will not be taken for granted,” Shuaibu said.
Shuaibu while clarifying the controversies surrounding the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine said it was produced under the patent of Oxford/AstraZeneca in India and not originally from the United Kingdom (UK), thus the composition is slightly different.
He said, “I also want to put it on record that the Indians are responsible for producing most of the vaccines that are produced globally and they are leaders when it comes to vaccine productions.
“For me as a public health practitioner, that is exactly where I will like Nigeria to be as there’s a lot of effort by the current administration to fast track the local production of vaccines.
“In terms of whether or not it is the same vaccine, it is the same vaccine and all of the clinical trials that are required have been done. Recall that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has given approval for this vaccine to be used. If there was any doubt whatsoever about safety or effectiveness, they would not put their reputation on the line,” he said.
“In terms of what to do additionally to get the rest of the population vaccinated, Shuaibu said that all the paper works have been done to apply what is required to procure up to 41 million doses of additional COVID-19 vaccine.
“Right now, about 22.9 million AstraZeneca Oxford vaccines are in place and about 18 million doses of Johnson and Johnson will be procured. The next consignment of vaccine from Africa Union (AU) is the 41 million which will start coming in from March to April and May,” he said.
Speaking on the delivery of the second batch of the vaccine to Nigeria, Shuaibu said work has already commenced to receive the next batch as the 4 million doses received are free.
Shuaib said, “The balance of 12 million doses will be arriving in batches between now and the month of May. The COVAX facilities as we are all aware and ground-breaking establishment involving Gavic Alliance for Immunization (GAVI) and WHO is to make sure that there is equitable access to vaccines globally.”
He also said that COVAX facilities will provide vaccines that will cover 20 percent of Nigeria’s population for free.