The Presidential Task Force On COVID-19 has allayed fears that Nigerians lives will be endangered by the use of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines that is being suspended in some countries due to safety concerns.
Speaking at the weekly briefing of the task force in Abuja on Monday, the Executive Secretary of the National Primary Healthcare Agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, said the vaccine has been approved for emergency use by both the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
He said the low cost nature of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine does not make it inferior.
Shuaib said: “We are working closely with NAFDAC to monitor any unusual adverse reaction to the vaccine. In addition to other measures that we have outlined for the vaccine to roll out, NAFDAC has introduced a safety app for people to download and install on their phones.
“I want to assure Nigerians that the Federal Government through the PTF on COVID-19 is fully committed to a safe and successful COVID-19 vaccination in the country.
“No safety and efficacy standards have been compromised in the decision of government to introduce the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
“The vaccine was approved for emergency use by the World Health Organisation and was tested and certified as safe and effective for use in Nigeria by NAFDAC.
“It is important to note that none of the approved brand of COVID vaccines is inferior. Understandably, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine relatively cost less than the other available brands of COVID-19 vaccines.
“However, this is not because it is inferior. It is because AstraZeneca which partners with Oxford to produce the vaccine decided and announced that they would not be making profit during this pandemic.
“So, from a humanitarian point of view, they decided that they will sell at their cost price. This is the reason for the relatively low cost of the AstraZeneca. It not because it is inferior in any way.
“As you well know, the AstraZeneca vaccine is being used in many parts of the world. Even after the roll out suspension by some European countries over certain concerns raised, the World Health Organization and its vaccine advisory committee has advised that there is no reason to stop using the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.”
Also in his remarks, the Chairman of the PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, assured that government would prioritise the health of Nigerians.
He added: “Over the last few days, reports from all over the world have focused on the safety and side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine that is currently being rolled out in Nigeria.
“The Nigerian authorities have tested and authorized the use of the vaccines because it is safe and efficacious.
“I however wish to reassure you that the government of Nigeria shall always prioritize the health of Nigerians.”
Safety not compromised by our use of AstraZeneca vaccines, says PTF