The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has allayed any fears concerning the safety of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine which is currently being administered in the country.
In a statement on Thursday, the Head, Public Relations Unit of the Task Force, Mr. Mohammed Ohitoto said the vaccinations which started earlier this month had not shown any adverse reactions, explaining that “all side effects reported by those who have been administered the vaccine have been mild.”
The press statement titled “Concerns about the safety of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Vaccine” stated that “we are aware of precautionary concerns that have been raised regarding one specific batch of the AstraZeneca Vaccine namely ABV5300.”
“We understand that investigations are being conducted to determine if the batch is in any way linked to an observed side effects. While we await the outcome of the investigation, it is important to clearly state that Nigeria did not receive any doses from the batch of vaccines which is at issue.”
The statement further explained that “we are satisfied that the clinical evidence indicated the Oxford/AstraZeneca Vaccine to be safe and effective. Our assessment is in line with countries such as Spain and the United Kingdom who have indicated that they will continue to administer the vaccine because it remains an important tool to protect against Covid-19.”
It added that “the safety of vaccines delivered to Nigeria is paramount to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19. For this reason, it has enhanced multi-sectoral collaboration among stakeholders and technical entities such as the FMOH, NPHCDA, NAFDAC, WHO and UNICEF whose cooperation ensures the highest global standards are met for vaccines delivered to Nigeria before they are distributed to Nigerians. Clear, rigorous protocols are being followed to safeguard the health of Nigerians.”
The PTF assured that it would continue to monitor the developments regarding ABV5300 batch and will share further information as it becomes available. Meanwhile, it has encouraged Nigerians who are among those being prioritised in the current phase to “continue their confidence and enthusiasm for our vitally important national vaccine programme.”