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Health experts say first doses still weeks away from vaccination centres despite NAFDAC approval of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

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The vaccine to be distributed among health workers in the country is the AstraZeneca vaccine

By Audrey Lotechukwu

THUR 18 FEB, 2021-theGBJournal- Health experts are pessimistic the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be available at vaccination centres by the end of this month as projected by government health officials and officials of the private sector led coalition on COVID19.

The approval of the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) for Emergency Use Authorization did not help sway their conviction that vaccines are on the way soon.

‘’Nigeria is among the 130 countries that have not received a single dose of the vaccine and it is not certain when we will get ours given the vaccine shortage globally as well as the politics involved in getting the vaccines,’’ health experts tell theGBJournal.

Wednesday the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a global vaccination plan after he described the progress on COVID-19 vaccination as ‘’wildly uneven and unfair,’’ a statement that underscores the monopoly of available vaccine by wealthy nations such as the U.S and UK who have practically snapped up all available vaccines.

According the Guterres, just 10 countries have administered 75% of all COVID19 vaccines.

To date, the 41 million doses the Presidential Task Force on COVID19 said was allocated the country have not arrived and there is no clear indication when they will.

The PTF tried to explain the delay in arrival of the vaccines earlier this month saying that the delay is due to the absence of the distribution mechanism intended to achieve public health value. The Task Force also blamed it on the shortage of the vaccine which made it not practical to provide every country with the vaccine.

The PTF said shortage necessitated further review to narrow down the selection process for vaccine allocation to countries. This information they say, was disclosed to them by the country representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Meanwhile, the recommendation for Emergency Use Authorization of the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine by NAFDAC was announced today after NAFDAC Vaccine Committee received the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine dossier from Serum Institute of India on February 10, 2021. NAFDAC said the recommendation for Emergency Use Authorization was based on rigorous scientific considerations which include VACCINE QUALITY and SAFETY AND EFFICACY.

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