The Federal Government yesterday said the global scarcity of COVID-19 vaccines may threaten second dose.
National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) Executive Director Dr Faisal Shuiabu stated this in Lafia, Nasarawa State, at the Northcentral zonal town hall meeting on COVID-19 vaccination.
It was organised by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 in collaboration with NPHCDA.
He said: “There is a global scarcity of COVID-19 vaccines due to high demand, especially in countries where they are being produced.
“For this reason, we anticipate a delay in vaccine supply to Nigeria. The government has, therefore, decided to rationalise by preserving 50 per cent of available doses of the vaccines for administration as second doses.
“What this means is that in each state of the federation, including FCT, only 50 per cent of allocated doses of vaccines are currently being administered.
“The remaining 50 per cent will be administered 8-12 weeks from the date of the first doses.”
He said over 2,000 people had died of coronavirus complications in Nigeria since the first case was confirmed in Lagos on February 27, 2020.
“We successfully took delivery of the first batch of four million doses of vaccine on March 2, developed by Oxford University and produced by the British-Swedish Company, AstraZeneca, but manufactured under license by the Serum Institute of India.
“As of April 20, 1,110, 820 Nigerians, representing 55.2 per cent of the eligible people have received their first dose of the vaccine, with the second dose assured,” he said.
Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, also said the vaccine was safe.
“Our mission here is to reassure the traditionalists, faithful and community leaders that the vaccines Nigeria uses are tested and safe.
“We urge leaders to recommend it to families and communities as the best protection against the dreaded disease.
“We must contribute to the desired 70 per cent to be vaccinated. Every one of us has a role in the effort to stem the virus by being vaccinated, promote vaccination and observe the safety protocols,” he said.
The Emir of Lafia, Sidi Bage, said the vaccine was safe and pledged the support of the traditional rulers toward the success of the vaccination.