By GEORGE OKOJIE, Lagos
Fresh facts have emerged that the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID vaccine facilitated through support from the COVAX facility to the Federal Government of Nigeria will expire by July 9, 2021.
The Lagos State commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, who gave the hint in Lagos, said Lagos State had concluded the first half of phase one COVID-19 vaccination campaign – in line with the directive of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA).
Abayomi explained that the conclusion of the first phase, which took an average of 20 days, followed the federal government’s directive to stop vaccination once half of the consignment has been administered so that those who received the first dose will have an opportunity for the second dose.
He said, ‘’The remaining doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID vaccine have been reserved at the Lagos State Cold Chain Store for the second dose exercise, which will commence on the 28th of May, 2021, following the expiration of the 8-12 weeks interval as required by the manufacturers. Residents are encouraged to check their vaccination cards for their next appointment dates and where possible to try to go to the same health facilities where they got their initial dose for their second dose.
‘’There is no need for citizens who have received the first dose to pre-register before going to the health facility for the second dose because their already captured details will only be updated with additional information after vaccination. The vaccines are due to expire on 9th July 2021. Our monitoring and evaluation quality assurance activity indicates that our cold chain distribution logistics has been maintained ensuring the integrity of the vaccines.’’
The commissioner added that, ‘’Lagos State inoculated 257,756 persons, as of the 15th of April 2021, consisting of health workers, frontline workers including; security agents, ports of entry staff, Judiciary, petrol station workers, contingency workers and strategic leaders.
‘’ The Government went a step further to vaccinate willing pensioners, people aged 70 and above, teachers and journalists during the same period. Lagos is the only State that has inoculated more than 200,000 residents during this period.’’
According to him, the remaining doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID vaccine have been reserved at the Lagos State Cold chain store for the second dose exercise expected to commence on the 28th of May, 2021, following the expiration of the 8-12 weeks interval as required by the manufacturers.
Aboayomi added that few of the persons vaccinated experienced what is termed Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI) or Adverse Event of Special Interest (AESI) characterised by pain at the injection site, fever or body pains lasting 24 to 48 hours and anaphylactic shock.
‘’ We are being extremely diligent for blood coagulation disorders in view of the prevailing international scientific attention to the possibility of increased risk of developing blood clotting disorders and two cases are being investigated. It is important in the interest of scientific knowledge to be able to attribute any blood clotting problems directly to the administration of the vaccine.
‘’The Lagos State Government has robust surveillance systems to effectively monitor and track untoward events and I would like to urge anyone who experiences any adverse events to call the number of the LGA Disease Surveillance Notification written in front of the vaccination card so that such cases can be thoroughly investigated and monitored,’’ Abayomi said.