Nigeria receives AstraZeneca vaccine

Nigeria’s drug regulators on Wednesday said a few Nigerians have had mild side effects after taking a jab of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) boss Mojisola Adeyeye said at least five people who took the vaccine from the National Hospital in Abuja experienced side effects like fever, chills, stomach rumbling and pain.

“But we have not reported adverse events of serious nature or special interest,” Adeyeye said on ChannelsTV’s SunRise Daily.

She insisted that “the vaccines should not be stopped unless it is a statistically massive occurrence.”

“Knowing that these are serious but the benefits outweigh the risk,” she added.

More than 15 countries, mostly in Europe, have suspended the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine over fears the shot may have caused some recipients to develop blood clots.

Sweden and Latvia on Tuesday became the latest nations to stop the rollout, following moves by Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Denmark, Norway, and The Netherlands, among others.

South Africa has also suspended the use of AstraZeneca vaccine over fears that it is less effective against the strain of the virus in the country.

Nigerians have raised concerns on why the government is yet to stop the vaccination in the country despite the reports on side effects.

Adeyeye said the vaccine might not be the problem but allergies. She shares the same sentiment with the World Health Organization (WHO).

“More than 335 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered globally so far, and no deaths have been found to have been caused by COVID-19 vaccines,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday during an online news briefing.

“As of now we are confident that we should go ahead,” WHO’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said, referring to the use of the AstraZeneca jab.

The NAFDAC boss said doctors should ask first if the person has an allergy and should get ready any drugs necessary to treat the allergy.

She said the AstraZeneca vaccine is not the first to be used under an emergency authorisation, stating that other COVID-19 vaccines have also been reported to have had adverse effects on people who took the shots.

The AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in Nigeria on March 2nd and the vaccination campaign started on March 5th. The government has also said it will not depending on the AstraZeneca vaccine alone.

The Nigerian government had said the vaccination is targeted at reaching 70 percent of the country’s population.

Since the country flagged off the vaccination drive many frontline health workers and government officials including President Muhammadu Buhari had taken the jabs.

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