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Omicron variant: NPHCDA to begin administration of booster dose using Pfizer Bio-N-Tech vaccine on Friday

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In a bid to combat the emergence of omicron variant of COVID-19 in Nigeria, Federal Government has announced that it will on Friday, 10 December 2021 begin administration of booster dose using the Pfizer Bio-N-Tech vaccine across the country.

The Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) , Dr Faisal Shuaib made the announcement on Thursday, at the flagged off of Covid-19 mass vaccination of refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons in Abuja.

The COVID-19 booster doses are for individuals who have completed the two doses of AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer Bio-N-Tech or one dose of Johnson & Johnson of the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to the NPHCDA boss, the booster dose gives greater protection against the virus.

He said, “It is pertinent to reiterate the fact that the Nigerian COVID-19 vaccination programme is science-driven. Evidence has shown that the booster dose further increases protection against the virus.

“Eligibility for the booster dose includes being 18 years and above, fully vaccinated with either two doses of AstraZeneca, Moderna or Pfizer Bio-N-Tech or a single dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The time interval before the booster dose is at least six months for these vaccines, except the Johnson and Johnson which is at least two months”.

Explaining the safety of the vaccine, Dr Shuaib noted that contrary to speculations, over seven million eligible Nigerians (6.6 percent)have been vaccinated with no record of death.

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“Today, Thursday December 9th 2021, 7,361,810 Nigerians have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and this represents 6.6% of the eligible population. 3,846,762 eligible Nigerians have received their second doses and are fully vaccinated against the virus representing 3.4% of the eligible population.

“Since the detection of the first case of COVID-19 infection in Nigeria about two years ago, the Federal Government has taken decisive steps to control the spread of the virus in the Country. Despite the challenges of large-scale misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines, Nigeria has successfully vaccinated over seven million eligible persons, and I am glad to inform that none of these persons has died as a result of receiving COVID-19 vaccine.

“Our record of successful vaccine roll out has been based on the consistent support from President Muhammadu Buhari and the guidance of the Chairman of Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 – Mr Boss Mustapha, and the Honorable Minister of Health – Dr Osagie Ehanire.

“While we remain grateful to God Almighty for using these leaders to intervene for our dear country, it is important to mention that the decision of over 7 million Nigerians to take the COVID-19 vaccine has been based on their rightful conviction that the vaccines are safe and effective in protecting them against the disease” Dr Shuaib said.

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He however commended Nigerians who accept to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and assured that government is determined to ensure that everyone, no matter where they are in the country have access to the COVID-19 vaccines.

The Executive Director said “We appreciate the courage, resilience and patriotism that Nigerians have continued to demonstrate in accepting to be vaccinated against COVID-19. And as time has come to prove that we were not wrong to have accepted the polio vaccine, time will come to prove that we are not wrong to accept the COVID-19 vaccine.

“As a result of our commitment to all Nigerians, COVID-19 vaccines are now accessible in all public, primary, secondary, and tertiary health facilities, private health facilities, worship centres, schools, markets, motor parks, shopping malls, etc, in order to fast track social and economic recovery from COVID-19. Suffice to say, we have sufficient doses of COVID-19 vaccines for this mass vaccination campaign.

“This is another opportunity to be further protected. I therefore urge all those who have taken the right decision to be fully vaccinated, to walk into the nearest vaccination site for their booster dose as from tomorrow.

“I want to reassure everyone that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and efficacious. We have in place the required measures and precautions to ensure vaccine monitoring and accountability. We are committed to ensure that our vaccination teams will be available on site here and in other camps daily until every eligible person has received their vaccines. I therefore urge camp leaders to take responsibility and ensure all members are fully vaccinated. Please do not hesitate to demand for the vaccines if the teams stop coming and there are still unvaccinated persons in the camp. It is your right to get vaccinated”.

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Also Speaking, Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Imaan Suleiman Ibrahim noted that this mass vaccination will give opportunity to significant number of displaced persons representing 1.7 percent of the nation’s population to be vaccinated.

While explaining that vaccines undoubtedly enable society to revert to ‘normalcy’ and ease restrictions, the Federal Commissioner encouraged displaced persons who are 18 years and above to take full advantage of the initiative.

“By getting vaccinated, you break the chain of disease transmission, you reduce mutations and Variants of the virus, you protect others, and even if you become ill, the severity of sickness is usually mild and does not require hospitalization. I have been fully vaccinated; I encourage you all to do same” she stressed.

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