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COVID-19 vaccination: FG kicks against mixing different vaccine brands

…Why we delayed rollout of 2nd phase
By Dan-Maryam Zayamu
The Federal Government has warned that mixing different brands of the COVID-19 vaccines is not allowed.
The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuiab, who gave the warning at a media briefing in Abuja, Tuesday, however, explained that no brand of COVID-19 vaccine is superior to the others provided they have been approved by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
“However, it is pertinent to state that mixing one brand of vaccine with another brand in first and second dose is not allowed.
“Those who have received AstraZeneca as first dose should receive AstraZeneca as second dose, while those who will receive Moderna as first dose will receive Moderna as second dose when due.
“In a few days, we will take delivery of additional AstraZeneca vaccine and those who are due for second dose of the vaccine will be prioritized.
“Most brands of COVID-19 vaccine require two doses of varying intervals between the doses for full protection.
“Moderna is two doses, four weeks apart; Oxford AstraZeneca is two doses with six to 12 weeks apart; and Pfizer is two doses, three weeks apart.
“However, brands such as Johnson and Johnson that we are receiving tomorrow, require a single dose for full protection against the virus.
“The initial dose that we will be receiving will be focused on those who are in the hard-to-reach areas (riverine areas, desert areas) and the elderly because they are people who may find it difficult to leave their homes to the health facility for a 2nd dose vaccine. I therefore urge us all to ensure we complete our doses for full protection,” Dr. Shuaib, said.
While saying that no brand of the COVID-19 vaccine is superior to others, the NPHCDA Executive Director said: “While we are hopeful and well prepared to roll out the 2nd Phase vaccination plan, we are by no means oblivious of the fact that there are challenges ahead, especially now that the country has started receiving different brands of COVID-19 vaccines.
“We are aware that Nigerians would want to know if there is a preferred brand.
“Let me assure everyone that COVID-19 vaccines, regardless of brand, as long as they have been approved by NAFDAC, provide adequate protection against the disease.
“We want to further assure Nigerians that we have strategized with our partners so that there is no confusion on which vaccines will be given to whom.
Speaking, the World Health Organisation (WHO) County Representative in Nigeria, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, advised Nigerians to be mindful of discontinuing public health and social measures including maintaining physical distance, avoiding crowded places and always observing hand hygiene. 
“We must all double down on prevention measures to build on the fragile gains achieved in Nigeria amid the country’s low vaccination rate: less than 2% of the entire population is fully vaccinated.
“Therefore, we must be mindful of discontinuing public health and social measures such as maintaining physical distance, avoiding crowded places and always observing hand hygiene. Relaxing them too early could see us losing some of the gains that vaccines have enabled us to make.
“To boost the uptake of vaccines, government, traditional and religious institutions as well as community influencers need to scale up operations, investments on operational costs and step up sensitization efforts to address vaccine hesitancy,” he said.

Written by ExpressDay

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