The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has reassured Nigerians that the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 is safe.
The Executive Secretary, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, said the vaccine has been approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO)and the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration (NAFDAC).
Shuaib said the low cost nature of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine does not make it inferior.
“We are working closely with NAFDAC to monitor any unusual adverse reaction to the vaccine.
“In addition to other measures that we have outlined for the vaccine roll out, NAFDAC has introduced a safety app for people to download and install on their phones.
“I want to assure Nigerians that the federal government through the PTF on COVID-19 is fully committed to a safe and successful COVID-19 vaccination in the country.
“No safety and efficacy standards have been compromised in the decision of government to introduce the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
“It is important to note that none of the approved brand of COVID-19 vaccines is inferior. Understandably, the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine relatively costs less than the other available brands of COVID-19 vaccines.
“However, this is not because it is inferior. It is because AstraZeneca which partners with Oxford to produce the vaccine decided and announced that they would not be making profit during this pandemic.
“As you well know, the AstraZeneca vaccine is being used in many parts of the world. Even after the roll out suspension by some European countries over certain concerns raised, the WHO and its vaccine advisory committee has advised that there is no reason to stop using the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
“Similarly, the UK regulators have also determine that evidence does not suggest that the vaccine causes blood cloth.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the NPHCDA, in a statement on March 11 said it would continue to monitor the developments regarding the ”ABV5300” batch.
“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.
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.