FG allays fears over AstraZeneca vaccines as Austria, others suspend rollout

...says Nigeria did not receive vaccine batch linked to death

The Federal Government through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has reassured Nigerians that the administration of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in the country has so far not thrown up any adverse effect, urging citizens to continue to make themselves available for vaccination.

This comes following precautionary concerns that have been raised regarding one specific batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine, namely ABV5300.

The agency said Nigeria did not receive any doses from the batch of vaccines which is at issue.

Austria has suspended rollout of the COVID-19 batch and launched investigations following the death of one. Similarly, other countries like Denmark, Norway and Iceland have also suspended AstraZeneca shots after reports of blood clots in people who have been vaccinated.

Investigations are currently being conducted to determine if the batch is in any way linked to any observed side effects.

The NPHCDA, in a statement signed by Mohammad Ohitoto, its spokesperson, on Thursday said it would continue to monitor the developments regarding ABV5300 batch and would share further information as it becomes available.

“As we await the outcome of the investigations, it is important to clearly state that Nigeria did not receive any doses from the batch of vaccines which is at issue,” the agency said in the statement.

“Vaccinations in Nigeria started earlier this month and we have not observed any similar adverse reactions. All side effects reported by those who have been administered the vaccine have been mild.

“We are satisfied that the clinical evidence indicates the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to be safe and effective. Our assessment is in line with countries such as Spain and the UK who have indicated that they will continue to administer the vaccine, because it remains an important tool to protect against COVID-19,” it said.

Ohitoto reiterated that the safety of vaccines delivered to Nigeria is paramount to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and has enhanced multi-sectoral collaboration among stakeholders and technical entities such as the FMOH, NPHCDA, NAFDAC, WHO and UNICEF whose cooperation ensures the highest global standards are met for vaccines delivered to Nigeria before they are distributed to Nigerians.

He added that clear, rigorous protocols are being followed to safeguard the health of Nigerians.

“In the meantime, we encourage Nigerians who are among those being prioritised in the current phase to continue their confidence and enthusiasm for our vitally important national vaccine programme. Together, we can save lives,” the statement said.

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