COVID-19: Group clears air on Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, urges citizens to support NPHCDA’s efforts

The National Vanguard for Covd-19 Vaccine Administration and Advocacy says there is no need for panic over the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, assuring Nigerians that it is safe and effective for the cure of the coronavirus. 

The group, which gave this assurance at a press conference on Thursday in Abuja, noted that the
benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risk or any side effects it may pose.

It also hailed the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), at the forefront of the distribution, administration and sensitisation of Nigerians on the vaccine. 

Recall that several European countries recently stopped the administration of the vaccine over reports of blood clots in recipients. 

The European Medicines Agency (EMA), World Health Organisation and other global health bodies have, however, dispelled fears against the shot which provides “100% efficacy over severe or critical disease and hospitalization.” 

And after an independent analysis, the National Vanguard for Covd-19 Vaccine Administration and Advocacy also submitted that the vaccine is safe for Nigerians. 

In his address, the group’s Director of Publicity and Enlightenment, Nathaniel Agada, frowned at Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State over his approach to the contagion and vaccines. 

Citing Covid-skeptic late Tanzanian President, Joseph Magufuli, as an reference, Agada said the governor is misguided and his “myopic decision” can only bring misfortune to him and his people. 

While urging all patriotic citizens to show support for NPHCDA’s efforts, the group added that everyone must be vaccinated for their own safety. 

Read full statement below:

INTRODUCTION

Due to the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic across the globe, such concerns were raised, and lots of focus have been on the different Health sectors in expectant to come up with a resolute on tackling the threat.

The coronavirus is one of our modern day’s greatest global, human challenge. Now more than ever, access to evidence about the health and socio-economic impact is key to inform the general public and decision-makers in a moment of crisis like this. The need for evidence-based decision-making has never been this greater.

The COVID-19 pandemic is presenting unprecedented challenges for us all, from its effects on our everyday lives to its impacts on the world’s economies. Beyond the tragic health hazards and human consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic uncertainties, and disruptions that have resulted come at a significant cost to the global economy concerning the demographic, social, and economic implications on the Nigerian population.

The Federal Government in partnership with the National Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and other concerned Health sectors has taken a great step in saving the lives of Her citizens by administering the approved and safe Corona vaccine to every household.

Matters Arising

The arrival of the AstraZeneca vaccine into Nigeria has brought great relief upon the country that has been numbered with a load of tackling the Corona Virus epidemic. Thanks to the immense efforts of the Nigerian government, the horned demon also known as COVID-19 has been effectively arrested in the country. The mortality rate of the virus has been very low. Now, the Buhari led administration has taken the fight to another level by the importation of the COVID-19 vaccine into the country and distributing it to all the states in the country. 

According to the Presidential Task Force  (PTF), no fewer than 8000 people have been vaccinated across the country. This is an incredible step towards ensuring a COVID-19 free country. We, the National Coalition for Vaccine Administration (NCVA) highly commend the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and his administration and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) for working tirelessly in ensuring the health and safety of the citizens of Nigeria. Now we can proudly say that Nigeria is headed in the right direction in maintaining a healthy and vibrant nation. 

Several experts in the past had predicted that when the Cocid 19 pandemic hits African countries like Nigeria, it would bring with it a complete disaster. President Muhammadu led the administration and the NPHCDA worked hard to prove these experts wrong. The NCDC also contributed immensely to the fight against COVID-19. 

The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine properly or AZD1222 vaccine is a vaccine used for the prevention of the novel Corona Virus in individuals aged 18 and above. It works by teaching the body how to fight the virus whenever it is infected.

It has been listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization and is safe and effective for use. This is based on findings from large-scale clinical trials around the world.

The AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in Nigeria on the 2nd of March and the vaccination campaign commenced on the 5th of March. The Nigerian government has stated that its goal is to vaccinate at least 70 per cent of the country’s population.

Since the commencement of the vaccination campaign, a sundry of frontline health workers and government officials including President Muhammadu Buhari and several state governors have been vaccinated.

Amidst the vaccination campaign, there have been several concerns raised over the safety of the vaccine such as its effectiveness and possible side effects. These concerns have been the cause of several scepticisms thrown at the vaccine. Many people are afraid of being vaccinated including some healthcare professionals. This is a myopic mindset as it has been proven that the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh its side effects.

Since the creation of the vaccine, more than 15 countries, especially in Europe, have suspended the use of the vaccine over concerns raised of the vaccine causing blood clotting in some of its recipients.

Many Nigerians have voiced their concerns over why the Nigerian government hasn’t put a stop to the use of the vaccine in the country despite the reports on side effects and the halting of the vaccination in several countries such as Germany, France, Spain and South Africa.

FINDINGS

Permit us to briefly analyze several findings and data that have proven that the worries raised over the use of the vaccine are utterly meaningless. 

To clear the air, over 300 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered globally so far, and there has been no recorded death owing to the use of the vaccine. 

The European Medicines Agency’s safety committee recently concluded its preliminary review of a signal of blood clots in individuals vaccinated with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca at its meeting on the 18th of March 2021. 

The Committee confirmed that:

The benefits of the vaccine in combating the COVID-19 virus outweigh the risk, or any side effects it may pose.

That the vaccine is not associated with an increase in the overall risk of blood clots in those who receive it.

That there is no evidence of complications related to specific batches of the vaccine or specific manufacturing sites.

 That around 20 million people in the UK and the European Economic Area had received the vaccine as of the 16th day of March 2021 and the EMA had reviewed only 7 cases of blood clots in multiple blood vessels (disseminated intravascular coagulation, DIC) and 18 cases of Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST).

As we can all see, there should be no cause for alarm regarding the possible side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine. 

It is unfortunate that all state governors, aside from Kogi State governor, have launched vaccination programs in their states. This involved the public vaccination of the state governors and strategic leaders to underscore the confidence in the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.

The Kogi state government has rejected the use of the vaccine claiming the vaccine is dangerous and meant to kill. This a blind decision made by the governor. It is a misguided myopic decision that only aims to bring possible misfortune. It makes me question what his advisers and members of his administration are thinking. Any wise leader should fully comprehend the risks of making such a decision upon his people. The people of Kogi State like every other Nigerians deserve to be kept safe and healthy, and their vaccination would be the right step towards achieving that.

Governor Yahaya Bello should get rid of his obnoxious obduracy and accept the vaccination of the people of his state.

The misfortune that befell Magufuli of Tanzania should serve as a deterrent to the Kogi State governor. Joseph Magufuli just like the governor of Kogi state failed to heed ceaseless warnings regarding his imprudent decisions and disaster came knocking soon. Governor Yahaya Bello’s unwise decision might not only lead to his misfortune but also cause harm to a lot of people involved. He has no excuse for his decision. He has shown himself to be an incompetent leader in many regards.

He has failed to put the interests of the people of Kogi State first. The people of Kogi state are at a dangerously high level of risk by not being vaccinated. If peradventure another wave of the pandemic hits Kogi State, we might get an alarming increase in infection reports and the number of deaths in the state. It might end up being a case of had I known.

The Governor of Kogi state should learn from our dear president how he has the interests of the Nigerian Citizen first in his heart. He already set an example by also taking a jab of the vaccine. Now he can rest assured that he safe from the virus. This is a good example of a leader and Yahaya Bello will do well to emulate.  The governor must turn a new leaf and strive to protect the lives of the people of Kogi State

CONCLUSION

The National Coalition for Administration is very much aware of the fact that these rumours have a political undertone, and are laced with political inclinations and grievances. 

We call on every patriotic citizen to dispel the rumours about the AstraZeneca Vaccine posing any threat to Health. It is believed that no vaccine can ever be administered in a state, country, let alone Globally, without it being screened, or has undergone series of lab tests to gain approval by the necessary Health bodies, stakeholders, agencies, and Ministry.

This is a vaccine that is administered globally; by gaining its acceptance and recommendation from relevant stakeholders, including the World Health Organization (WHO). This is the major reason why the federal government has chosen this particular vaccine.

The EU’s health authority and the WHO have maintained that the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh any risk it could ever pose.

The Federal Government, through the Presidential Taskforce on COVID – 19  on March 5  2021, has flagged – off a national COVID – 19 vaccination programme at the National Hospital  Abuja after the vaccine was tested and certified to be effective and safe for use in the country by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control ( NAFDAC). 

RECOMMENDATION

We, therefore, urge every Nigerian to get vaccinated for their benefit, and the benefit of the people living around them. It is now a known fact that the health benefits outweigh any form of risk that may occur from being vaccinated, as this is known to be a deadly virus.

The National Coalition for Administration further urges the Governor of Kogi state to be a great leader to his people by not putting the life of Kogi people at risk. He advised removing the anti-political blindfold on his eyes. 

Every life in this country is precious to our President. Ignorance and political hatred will not be excused or permitted to destroy President Muhammadu Buhari led administration.

God bless Nigeria,

God bless President Muhammadu Buhari.

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