Nigeria close to 100 percent utilisation of COVID-19 vaccines, says FG

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By Moses Emorinken, Abuja

The Federal Government Tuesday disclosed that in few days, it would have utilised 100 percent of the nearly 4 million vaccines it received through the COVAX facility.

It dispelled rumours that the COVID-19 vaccine causes the site of the arm in which a person is immunised, to begin to magnetise objects or lighten electric bulbs.

Assuring Nigerians of the efficacy of the AstraZeneca to provide protection against the COVID-19 pandemic, it further stated that there is no difference in the efficacy of the vaccines supplied to Africa and Nigeria, from that used in Europe, America etc.

The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, made these known in Abuja, during a joint press briefing on vaccination updates, with the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

He said: “Today as I speak, 2,495,632 people have been vaccinated with the first dose, while 1,370,130 have received their second dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria. Overall, Nigeria has successfully utilized 3.9 million doses, representing 96 percent of the 4,024,000 doses of the vaccines received in the country. Nigeria is poised to achieve 100 percent utilization of the doses of vaccine it has received in the next few days. This is to ensure that people are protected against COVID-19, and normalcy is restored.

“We must take informed steps to guard ourselves from being misled by those who are spreading misconceptions about COVID-19 vaccines.

“Today I would like to make it very clear and demonstrate publicly that COVID-19 vaccine does not create any magnetic effect around the vaccination site or any part of the body for that matter, nor does it cause the body to light up an electric bulb. It is also a well-known fact that persons with wet, moist, or sticky skin can have objects stuck to their skin especially in smooth areas. Strong friction also allows for objects to stick to the skin. COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any metal – this is another fact! So how can it generate magnetic fields or light an electric bulb?”

He added: “It is evident that Nigeria has made significant progress towards utilizing the 4 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine we got from COVAX facility, and that is why our vaccine roll out has been described as the best in the African sub-region. As the country prepares to receive additional vaccine supply to commence phase 2 of its strategic vaccination plan, our attention has been drawn to, yet another level of disinformation targeted at discouraging people from seeking vaccination against COVID-19.

“On seeing this reality, the rumour mongers changed their narratives into saying that the vaccines used in Europe and America are not the same as the ones used in Africa. Again, as evidence has come to show, it is now clear that the COVID-19 vaccines used in Europe, America and elsewhere in the World are the same used in Nigeria and other countries in Africa.

“Let us not forget that this same falsehood of children dying after vaccination was spread about the Polio vaccine, but after many years, children who took the polio vaccine are still alive and have grown into adulthood and have their own children, as expected. There has not been any case of a child’s death that is linked to polio vaccination, and many more children have been born to discount another claim that polio vaccination would lead to infertility.”

Dr Gupta Gagan, who represented the Country Director of the United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Peter Hawkins, while lauding the government’s efforts to utilise 100 percent of vaccines received in few days, urged the media, healthcare workers, religious and traditional leaders, to come forward with accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines, dispelling the rumors and negative publicity about the vaccine.

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