By Sola Ogundipe
Following the suspension of the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine by several European nations on Thursday, due to reports of serious blood clot incidents, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, has said no such reactions have been reported in Nigeria.
Several European nations had suspended the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday due to the incident that reportedly caused about 30 incidents of harmful blood clots in patients who received the vaccine, including at least one case in Denmark where the patient died.
In a press statement posted on its Twitter handle on concerns about the safety of the vaccine, the NPHCDA however said it was monitoring the situation.
“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 effect. While we await the outcome of the investigations, it is important to clearly state that Nigeria did not receive any doses from the batch of vaccines that is at issue.
Further, the statement noted: “Vaccinations in Nigeria started earlier this month and we have not observed any similar adverse reactions. All side effects reported by those who have been administered the vaccine have been mild. We are satisfied that the clinical evidence indicates the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to be safe and effective.
“Our assessment is in line with countries such as Spain and the UK who have indicated that they will continue to administer the vaccine because it remains an important tool to protect against COVID-19. 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.
“We are continuing to monitor the developments regarding the ABV5300 batch and will share further information as it becomes available. In the meantime, we encourage Nigerians who are among those being prioritised in the current phase to continue their confidence and enthusiasm for our vitally important national vaccine program. Together, we can save lives,” the statement noted.