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AstraZeneca Vaccine: Nigeria Government Asks Citizens To Remain Calm— Insists It’s Safe

The Nigerian authorities have assured residents that there is no cause for alarm regarding the batch of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine delivered to the country recently.

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) gave the assurance in a statement on Thursday by its Head of Public Relations Unit, Mohammad Ohitoto.

Amid the reports that some countries have stopped using the vaccine, the NPHCDA asked residents to remain calm.

While it noted the precautionary concerns raised regarding a specific batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine – namely ABV5300, it stated that investigations were being conducted to determine if the batch was in any way linked to an observed side effect.

The health agency insisted that Nigeria did not receive any dose from the batch of vaccines in contention, adding that all side effects reported so far in Nigeria had been mild.

According to it, the government is monitoring the developments regarding the ‘ABV5300 batch’ of the vaccine and will make the updates public as they become available.

The NPHCDA appealed to those categorised among the set of people to be prioritised in the current phase of vaccination exercise to come forth and get vaccinated.

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Read the full statement from the agency below:

Press Statement on Concerns About the Safety of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Vaccine.
We are aware of precautionary concerns that have been raised regarding one specific batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine, namely ABV5300.

We understand that investigations are being conducted to determine if the batch is in any way linked to an observed side effect.

While 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 that is at issue.

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.

The safety of vaccines delivered to Nigeria is paramount to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

For this reason, it 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.

Clear, rigorous protocols are being followed to safeguard the health of Nigerians.
We are continuing to monitor the developments regarding ABV5300 batch and will share further information as it becomes available.

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

Signed:

Mohammad Ohitoto

Head, Public Relations Unit.

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