The Federal Government has announced August 16 as the new date for the beginning of the second phase of COVID-19 vaccination in the country.
The phase will see the country administering the Moderna vaccine doses donated by the United States.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed the new date on Monday while featuring on ‘Good Morning Nigeria,’ a live program of the Nigerian Television Authority which was monitored by our correspondent.
The minister explained that the postponement of the commencement from August 10 to August 16 was “purely administrative.”
He said, “We have received 4,800,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine and we will commence administering the doses on Monday, August 16.
“The exercise was supposed to commence tomorrow (Tuesday), August 10, but we suspended it till Monday, and the reason is purely administrative.
“When vaccines arrived in the country, they are taken to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control.
“The agency will analyze them and thereafter give us a green light for the use.”
The minister debunked insinuations that the exercise was postponed indefinitely over concerns raised by some experts on the propriety of using the Moderna vaccine.
He said, as the first batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine which had been fully administered without hitch, the doses of Moderna vaccine donated to the country by the US were “safe and meant to save lives.”
The minister also disclosed that the second phase of the vaccination would target people from 18 years and above.
He explained that the 18 years and above were targeted because the younger ones, even in the US, were now becoming more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection and attack
He explained that the Delta variant of the COVID-19 pandemic which is more virulent and deadly had been recorded in some states since July.
“If you have our two doses, it is clear that even if you are infected with COVID-19, it will be very mild.
“You will not be hospitalized, talk less of death as opposed to the fellow that has not taken the vaccine.
“So, we must encourage people to go out and take the vaccine,” he added.
FG receives 170,000 J&J vaccine doses
Similarly, the Federal Government Monday announced that it will take delivery of 170,000 doses of J&J vaccine on Wednesday.
This was disclosed by the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib, during a media briefing in Abuja.
Recall that the Director of the Africa Centre for Disease Control, Dr. John Nkengasong, had last week announced that the African Union would commence the delivery of the J&J vaccines across its member states.
The NPHCDA boss, however, added that the J&J vaccine doses would be given to a targeted set of people.
He said, “Just like the minister has said, Nigeria will be getting 170,000 doses of the J&J doses on Wednesday. This is in addition to the 4,080,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine.
“For the J&J, we target people who live far away, places where our health workers might have troubles visiting twice, and the nomads.
“We will also begin the second phase of vaccination on August 16. We are also working with states about this.”
Shuaib also stated that the country was working hand in hand in securing cholera vaccines, saying the issue of cholera “is now a national crisis.”
He said, “We are working with our international partners to make sure that we secure vaccines for cholera. We got 1.5 million which we used to curtail the outbreak in Bauchi.”
SOURCE: The Punch