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17,000 so Far Receive First Jab of AstraZeneca in Enugu

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17,000 so Far Receive First Jab of AstraZeneca in Enugu

No fewer than 17,000 residents of Enugu have so far received their first jab of AstraZeneca in the ongoing vaccination in the state.

Dr George Ugwu,  the Executive Secretary of the Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ENS-PHCDA), made this known to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Thursday.

Recall that the state government on March 8, received 65,400 doses of the vaccine from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Abuja, and vaccination began across the state on March 19.

READ ALSO: FG To States: Stop COVID-19 Vaccination Halfway, Here’s Why

Ugwu explained that the 17,000 given first jabs of the vaccination represented those vaccinated as at 6p.m. on April 14.

He said the state has not reached half of the total dose received from the NPHCDA, Abuja and the vaccination was ongoing in each of the designated centres.

The delay in administering the vaccines was because five councils started late as well as the long Easter holiday break.

“We are yet to get to half of the 65,400 doses given to the state from the NPHCDA, Abuja.

“The exercise is still very much on for those in the priority lists – health workers and the elderly – to receive their first jabs as well as other members of the public very eager to receive as well.

“Once we exhaust half of the dose sent to us; we will stop giving the first jabs.

“We will have a pause of vaccination for about eight weeks before giving the second jabs to all those that had received their first jabs to complete their dose.

“This is what we have agreed with the NPHCDA, Abuja and our partners.

“So, those who got their first jabs will receive the second jabs in less than three months for continued efficacy of the vaccines in their system,” he said.

READ ALSO: PTF Members, Ministers Receive COVID-19 Vaccines

The executive secretary noted that prior to the Easter break and after it the number of those receiving their first jabs had grown in the council areas.

“With the daily exponential rise in the number of people coming for their first jabs; within a few days we will get to half of the total dose we have and the exercise will be paused.

“However, we are still expecting more doses from the NPHCDA, Abuja to ensure that the entire residents of the state are vaccinated and protected,” he said.

He noted  “the vaccine is safe and efficacious”, adding that there has not been any reported adverse side effects.

The executive secretary lauded Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for supporting the COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

“Apart from financial and moral assistance to the agency, Gov. Ugwuanyi volunteered himself, to be publicly vaccinated as a critical leader providing direction to residents of the state on the need to receive theirs.

“This has made the residents believe in the efficacy and safety of the vaccine; while responding appropriately to receive their first jabs,’’ he added.

 

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ALERT: Dreaded India’s COVID-19 Variant Discovered In Nigeria

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ALERT: Dreaded India's COVID-19 Variant Discovered In Nigeria

The African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) in the Redeemers University, Ede, Osun State, has detected the COVID-19 strain, currently ravaging India, in Nigeria.

The variant, according to a report, was detected nearly three weeks ago and has been communicated to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

It would be recalled that the Federal Government had again restricted gatherings at worship centres and banned nightclubs following reports that the devastating COVID-19 strain in South Africa had spread to 23 other countries.

The detection of the Indian strain in Nigeria contributed to the fresh regulations issued by the Federal Government.

The detection had been listed on GISAID, a global science initiative that provided open access to genomic data of influenza viruses.

A notification dated Sunday, April 25, 2021, sent by Professor Christian Hapi of the ACEGID to the NCDC, read in part, “We have found five sequences of the India B.1.617 in the country, specifically in Edo and Osun states.”

Hapi, however, clarified that the strain in India has two more mutations than the one identified in Nigeria which makes the one in India more aggressive.

“What we have is the B1.617 from India. That is the variant they had but that variant has now evolved beyond the mutation that we identified.

“The one India evolved by two mutations. It is the same strain with India but their own now has a couple of mutations. So, it is the same as what we detected but also different in characteristics,” he added.

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Health & Wellness

Why Nigeria Cannot Locally Produce COVID-19 Vaccines – FG

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Why Nigeria Cannot Locally Produce COVID-19 Vaccines – FG
Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has said that local production of COVID-19 vaccines cannot start now in Nigeria.

Ehanire made this known in Abuja while explaining why local production of COVID-19 vaccines cannot start in the country at the moment as the world continues to fight vaccine nationalism.

He attributed the delay to the government’s inability to procure the required technology for production.

READ ALSO: FG Has Not Approved Private Importation Of COVID Vaccines – Minister

The minister said that the N10 billion earmarked by the National Assembly for that purpose is intact.

The Federal Government, he said, was still in talks with local vaccine firm, Bio-Vaccine Nigeria Limited.

“Nigeria is a 49 percent shareholder in a company called Bio-Vaccine Nigeria Limited, and the bio-vaccine is a revival of the former vaccine plants that the Federal Government used to have, in which the private sector was invited to join and form a special purpose vehicle – a company called Bio-Vaccine.

Now the joint venture was stalled because of the COVID-19 outbreak – when there was a lockdown and when nothing could move.

”So there is a lot of delay by the company in getting themselves on their feet.

“The aspiration to produce vaccines has not been fulfilled. It is not that it is abandoned.

”We are working on it and I have spoken with one of the members of the board of management of the bio-vaccine and we are working on getting that technology to both produce routine vaccines and also COVID-19 vaccines under license and importation of the technology and partnership for it.”

According to reports, the Ministry of Finance released N10 billion to support COVID-19 vaccine production in the country.

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Health & Wellness

Second Dose Of COVID-19 Now Available For Nigerians

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Second Dose Of COVID-19 Now Available For Nigerians

Nigeria will begin administering the second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on eligible Nigerians who received the first shots.

Dr. Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), made this known during the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) briefing in Abuja.

Shuaib advised health workers, frontline workers aged 18 years and above, and persons aged 50 years and above to visit any designated vaccination site to receive the vaccine free of charge.

READ ALSO: Over 1 Million Nigerians Have Been Vaccinated – NPHCDA

I want to remind you that the eligibility period between the first and second doses of the vaccine has been expanded from 12 weeks to between six to 12 weeks, in line with the scientific recommendation provided by the World Health Organisation’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE on immunization).

”The PSC has approved the second dose of the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccination in all states of the federation and the FCT.

“We have redeployed Senior Supervisors to the states and have continued to monitor activities with daily evening review meetings to determine the status of the COVID-19 vaccine implementation in all states and the FCT.

“These meetings, allows us to receive reports from the sub-national level on how the campaigns are proceeding, what challenges they face, and how we can proactively anticipate and resolve any impending challenges.

”The meetings also provide an avenue to troubleshoot and resolve any operational hurdles as they emerge, before they become problematic,” he explained.

He said that as was recorded in the poliovirus eradication fight, the agency is strengthening the COVID-19 vaccination campaign at the community level with Town Hall meetings across the country.

”Already we held the North-Central Zonal Town Hall Meeting two weeks ago in Lafia, the capital of Nasarawa state.

”In weeks ahead, the agency hopes to continue the dialogue in other geo-political zones of the country.

“The town hall meetings afford the communities the opportunity to directly participate in dialogue with the government as we work to protect the people against the pandemic.

“We know that many people are very concerned about the health threats posed by COVID-19, but also about the economic threats.

”The meetings allow for views and concerns to be heard as we work together to move beyond COVID-19 as a nation,” he said.

The NPHCDA boss urged Nigerians to continue to cooperate with vaccinators who were providing an incredibly important service to the nation amid this global crisis.

He added that the government would ensure that only safe and efficacious vaccines were supplied for all phases of the vaccination campaign in the country.

“We would like to state our appreciation to the Nigerian citizens for the cooperation they are providing to our vaccination teams across the country.

”We are continuing to optimize our registration and immunization data system, to maximize the efficiency of this system.

 The need to protect ourselves and put COVID-19 behind us, the way we have done to polio so that we can return to our normal living, truly is a national effort,” he stated.

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