Stick To A Brand Of COVID-19 Vaccine, FG Advises

Joseph Bakare

The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib, has cautioned Nigerians to avoid mixing different brands while taking COVID-19 vaccines.

Shuaib, also disclosed that the government will be receiving 176,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccines on Wednesday, the 11th of August 2021.

The Director, while addressing the media in Abuja on Tuesday said that those who have received AstraZeneca as first dose should receive AstraZeneca as second dose, while those who will receive Moderna as first dose will receive Moderna as second dose when due.

According to him, the government expects to take delivery of additional AstraZeneca vaccine in the next few days, adding that those who are due for second dose of the vaccine will be prioritized.

He said, “It is pertinent to state that mixing one brand of vaccine with another brand in first and second dose is not allowed.

“Those who have received AstraZeneca as first dose should receive AstraZeneca as second dose, while those who will receive Moderna as first dose will receive Moderna as second dose when due.

“Most brands of COVID-19 vaccine require two doses of varying intervals between the doses for full protection. Moderna is two doses, four weeks apart; Oxford AstraZeneca is two doses with six to 12 weeks apart; and Pfizer is two doses, three weeks apart.

He further disclosed that the government will be receiving 176,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines on Wednesday August 11th, out of the 29,850,000 doses that the Federal Government procured from the AFREXIM Bank through the African Union.

This is in addition to the 4,000,080 doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine donated by the government of the United States.

He, however, explained that brands such as Johnson and Johnson require a single dose for full protection against the virus.

“The initial dose that we will be receiving will be focused on those who are in the hard-to-reach areas (riverine areas, desert areas) and the elderly because they are people who may find it difficult to leave their homes to the health facility for a 2nd dose vaccine. I therefore urge us all to ensure we complete our doses for full protection.

“The flag-off and roll out of the 2nd phase of the COVID-19 Vaccination program will be done on August 16th, 2021.

“We are currently wrapping up the training about 40,739 health workers across the National, State and Ward level on our phase 2 strategic vaccine roll out plan with focus on improving the delivery, communication, data management, management of the vaccines and logistics that are needed.

“A total of 3,363 teams will be used. 2,690 teams manning the fixed post and 673 manning temporary fixed post which will go from settlement to settlement especially around areas where people will congregate for example the houses of the traditional leaders, the markets and motor parks.

“While we are hopeful and well prepared to roll out the 2nd Phase vaccination plan, we are by no means oblivious of the fact that there are challenges ahead, especially now that the country has started receiving different brands of COVID-19 vaccines,” he said.

Speaking further, Shuaib noted the adoption of the ‘whole family approach’ to integrate the COVID-19 vaccination with other basic PHC services such as childhood vaccination, screening for hypertension, diabetes, malnutrition.

He also said that State Primary Health Care Development Agencies will be sensitized on how to improve personal hygiene, water and environmental sanitation, in view of the large number of reported cases of cholera.

According to him, all those who have taken their first dose of AstraZeneca vaccines and are due for their 2nd dose would be given their 2nd dose in this month of August as the country is expecting up to 588,800 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the COVAX facility.

“This is the first batch that will be coming in the next couple of days, thereafter we will be expecting up to 3.9 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines to complement what we already have and to make sure we cover not only those who will be taking their 2nd AstraZeneca vaccine but also for those who will want to take their 1st dose of this vaccine.

“In all communications, we have been clear that the AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines are very effective against the Delta variant as cases are beginning to increase in States like Lagos and Akwa Ibom,” he added.

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