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Vaccination suffers setbacks, five more countries halt the exercise

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

The PTF publicly denounced the advice from some prominent Nigerians who had been using the cases of side effects, especially in Europe to discourage their followers from accepting the vaccine.

The National Coordinator of the PTF, Dr. Sani Aliyu, who was represented by the National Incident Manager, Dr Muktar Muhammad, made this known at the press  conference  of  the task force on Monday.

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

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Recall that The Federal Government had on Thursday said Nigeria would continue to administer the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine despite its suspension by eight European countries.

 On 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.

The Federal Government two weeks ago received 3.94 million doses of the vaccine from the COVAX facility, an initiative co-led by the Vaccine Alliance, GAVI, and the World Health Organisation.

Read More: France Suspends Use Of AstraZeneca COVID Vaccine

The PTF warned Nigerians against capitalizing on the arrival of the vaccine in the country to flout the laid-down COVID-19 protocols, which include the use of face masks, observance of physical distancing at public events.

The task force also urged state governments to intensify efforts at enforcement of health regulations signed by the President “until we reach a certain point where we are comfortable with the level of immunity in the country.”

Muhammad 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.”

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Also on Monday, the Federal Government cautioned Nigerians to be wary of the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic as being experienced in some countries.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, stated these during a press conference of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

Over 8000 persons have received the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID – 19 vaccines, the Federal Government said on Monday.

The government also said it had not received any official report of serious adverse effects from any of those who have been vaccinated.

The Executive Director of National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, stated these during the press conference of the Presidential Task Force on COVID – 19.

“As part of the vaccine launch in the states that occurred last week, over 8,000 Nigerians have been administered the vaccine. We have not received any official report of serious adverse effects from any of those who have been vaccinated.”

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