Despite global concerns over AstraZeneca vaccine, Nigerian gov’t insists it’s safe


The Presidential Tasks Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has insisted that the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is safe for Nigerians despite the growing global concerns over possible side effects.

A statement by Mukhtar Muhammad, the National Incident Manager of the PTF on COVID-19, on Monday in Abuja disclosed this at the task force’s joint national briefing.

According to Mr Muhammad, the clinical trials had shown that the side effects are “generally mild.”

Mr Muhammad stated that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had, in the last three days, through a series of briefings, vouched for the vaccine’s safety and efficacy and had proved that it had about 70 per cent efficacy level.

READ ALSO: Nigeria, WHO differ as European countries suspend use of AstraZeneca vaccine

He, however, advised those who might have received the vaccine but have some side effects for more than 24 hours to report through the appropriate channels.

Mr Muhammad said: “The arrival of the vaccines is something that is very good and exciting in the sense that a combination of the vaccine and the non-pharmaceutical interventions can help us see the light at the end of the tunnel within a very short period of time.

“However, we have suffered a major setback in the last few hours, regarding the content safety and efficacy of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. We have seen in the news how some countries have deferred the usage of this vaccine or have suspended its use. That list of the European countries is growing.

“It is very reassuring to see that the regulatory agencies in those countries have continued to emphasise that the vaccine is safe and that the incidents of blood clots reported in patients are not higher than the risk of blood clotting in people who are not vaccinated. That is really something reassuring.”

Some countries in Europe have suspended the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine over concerns that the jab may cause blood clots, even though medicine regulators and the WHO said there was no evidence of any problem.

Germany, Italy, France, Spain, and the Netherlands became the latest countries to pause the vaccine’s rollout on Monday following reports of possible adverse side effects. Norway, Denmark, and Bulgaria suspended their programmes last week.



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