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COVID-19: PTF assures Nigerians of vaccines’ safety, as more countries halt exercise over reported side-effects

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has stated that it realises the increasing concerns of Nigerians about the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, noting that Nigeria has suffered a major setback in the campaign to make citizens and residents take the jabs.

This was contained in a statement issued by the National Coordinator of the PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu, who was represented by the National Incident Manager, Dr Muktar Muhammad, who made this known at the press conference of the task force on Monday, March 15.

Muhammad stated this as five more countries halted the administration of the vaccine because of the fear of the possible deadly side effects.

According to the task force, some prominent Nigerians had been using the cases of side effects, especially in Europe to discourage their followers from accepting the vaccine.

He said, “It is sad to note that some people of very high positions, particularly some political and religious leaders, have used this opportunity to provide misinformation to the public regarding the response and the efficacy of the vaccine.

“We urge them to please contact the relevant experts in the field before they make these pronouncements. Any pronouncement by a responsible political or religious leader to a gathering should be based on science and facts, and not just what they feel at that moment.”

According to Ripples Nigeria report; that the FG said Nigeria would continue to administer the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine despite its suspension by eight European countries.

Last week Thursday, eight European countries – Denmark, Norway, Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Iceland, and Luxembourg – suspended all or part of its roll-out as a precaution while they investigated concerns relating to blood clots and other side effects caused by the vaccine.

Muhammad continued, “We have suffered a major setback in the last few hours regarding the taunted safety and efficacy of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. We have seen in the news how some countries have deferred the usage of this vaccine or have suspended its use. The list of the European countries is growing.

“However, it is very reassuring to see that the regulatory agencies in those countries have continued to emphasise that the vaccine is safe and that the incidents of blood clotting reported in the patients are not higher than the risk of blood clotting in people who are not vaccinated. So, it is something really reassuring.

“It is also heart-warming to see that the WHO has again issued statements – over the last few days, the WHO has been bringing out statements regarding the safety and efficacy of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. It is therefore important that we take this information seriously and that we use it as a guide towards the implementation of our programmes.”

He added, “So, with this, I will say that the available information from the clinical trials has shown that the vaccine is generally safe and efficacious and that it has an efficacy of about 70 per cent. The side effects are usually mild, which include fever, cough and cold. Any symptoms that have persisted more than 24 hours should be reported through the right channel at the state level, through the PHCDA and the state case managers.”