BY PATIENCE IVIE IHEJIRIKA, Abuja
T he fears and anxiety of Nigerians over reports of complications from the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine has eased. This comes as the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) says there are no cases of blood clots, no deaths recorded from the administration of the vaccine in the country.
The COVID -19 vaccination programme was officially rolled out on 15th of March 2021 in the country. The NPHCDA says so far, a total of 8,439 mild Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI) have been reported with 52 cases of moderate to severe incidents of AEFI.
According to the agency, the mild AEFI ranges from pain, swelling at the site of the inoculation, to body pains and nausea while the moderate to severe incidents were presented as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness and allergic reactions.
The news of no blood clots and deaths from the vaccine has come as a relief to many Nigerians.
Hopefully, this may reduce vaccine hesitancy even among health workers and other frontline workers across the country.
A nurse in the FCT, Nkiru Okoro, says that although she had the opportunity of receiving the vaccine as a front line worker, she refused taking it because her father in the village had called to warn her not to take the vaccine because of what he had heard about it.
A secondary school teacher in Jikwoyi, FCT, Mrs Abel Racheal, who spoke to me, reveals that she is so relieved since Friday when she read in the news that there have been no case of blood clots and deaths recorded in the country since the administration of the vaccine. This is because her daughter who is a frontline worker in Kogi State told her that she was going to receive the vaccine.
She disclosed that she had tried discouraging her daughter, who declined saying she needed to take the jab as a frontline worker.
“I have been so worried since then because I have read so many negative reports about the AstraZeneca vaccine, but now that no serious side effects has been recorded in the country, I am relieved,” she said.
However, a medical practitioner, Dr Ifeanyin Oluebube, says it’s normal to record side effects in the course of vaccination, saying it will only become a concern when there are more cases of severe reactions.
He says “Even routine immunisation for children comes with mild or moderate reactions, so it is normal. We only hope that we don’t get more serious reactions as we progress.”
Following this, the US has paused use of Johnson &Johnson developed by Janssen Vaccines in the Netherlands due to reports of rare blood clots.
So far, the five states with highest records of AEFI according to NPHCDA are: Kaduna (970), Cross River (859), Yobe (541), Kebbi (511), and Lagos (448).