The Federal Government has expressed doubts over the shipment of the next batch of COVID-19 vaccines to the country, citing current global vaccine supply challenges.
While stating that information available to it shows that the country may get the next consignment of vaccines by the end of July or August, it, however, stressed that such information have not been officially confirmed.
Additionally, with a total number of 1,929,237 Nigerians vaccinated with the first COVID-19 vaccine doses as of May 24, 2021, the government has announced that 4,683 eligible Nigerians have received the second doses of the AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine.
The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, who made these known in Abuja, during its briefing on COVID-19 vaccination update, also added that 23 percent (440,000) of eligible persons vaccinated so far in this first phase of covid-19 vaccination are health workers.
He said: “We are very pleased to announce today that we have almost completed administering all first doses included in this campaign, as of 24th May. We have now provided the first COVID-19 vaccine doses to a total number of 1,929,237 Nigerians, representing 96 percent of the targeted population.
“In addition, we have begun providing second doses, and that number has reached 4,683. Those individuals currently eligible for second doses will have received their first dose 6 to 12 weeks ago.
“We are advising that all Nigerians who have received their first dose should check their vaccination cards for the date of their second dose, and ensure that they receive the second dose to gain full protection against COVID-19.
“Our goal is to do everything possible to educate, combat misinformation, and ensure confidence in the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, and to ensure all Nigerians have clear information on how, where, and when to get the vaccine. We will do this through continuous engagement and communication with communities across our country.
“We are working with the federal Ministry of Information and the National orientation agency (NOA), and other line ministries that are involved in this national effort to make sure that there is correct communication around covid-19.
“We have gotten close to two million people have taken the vaccine, and evidence is there that they are not falling like a pack of cards. In Nigeria, we have vaccinated close to two million people and they are hale and hearty.
“We know that vaccine hesitancy is an issue but we are working with traditional, religious, and community-based organisations, and we believe that we will be able to overcome this with their collaboration and also the media.
“Concerning the proportion of health workers that have been vaccinated so far, 440,000 health workers have taken the COVID-19 vaccine. This represents about 23 percent of the total number of people who have been vaccinated so far.”
The UNICEF Country Representative, Peter Hawkins, while commending the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on their stewardship in tackling the covid-19 pandemic, and ensuring that Nigerians are vaccinated, said: “I want to encourage all governors, traditional, religious and community leaders to encourage their people to step forward and be vaccinated. Protecting yourself is important, and by doing so, you also protect your family and your communities.
“We hope that by the end of this year we will be able to vaccinate 40 million people, and then in 2022 the remaining 60 million will be vaccinated to make up the 112 million which is our objective.”