The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) said out of 4.4 million Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines received in the country, 1,114, 408 million have been utilised, representing 55.4 per cent of targeted eligible group.
The NPHCDA disclosed this on its official Twitter handle on Tuesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Federal Government has directed state governors not to exceed 50 per cent utilisation of the vaccines allocated to their states.
It reports that this is to allow for a second dose to those who had taken their first doses, adding, the remaining 50 per cent would be administered 8-12 weeks from the date of the first doses.
“As of today, April 20, 1,114,408 representing 55.4 per cent of the eligible group targeted with the AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered their first shots in this vaccination phase.
“The 1,114,408, were eligible Nigerians who have been vaccinated from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT),” it said.
The agency said that the country took delivery of 3.94 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines through COVAX, a UN-backed effort that promises access to free vaccines for up to 20 per cent of participating countries’ population.
“The delivery is part of an overall 16 million doses planned to be delivered to Nigeria in batches over the next months.
“Asides, on March 21, 2021, the country received another 300,000 doses of the same vaccines from telecom giant, MTN.
“On April 6, the government of India also delivered 100,000 doses of COVISHIELD COVID-19 vaccines to Nigeria,” it explained.
The NPHCDA noted that the COVISHIELD, a brand of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, was used in over 71 countries, including the UK, Canada, India and Brazil.
Meanwhile, the agency said it had been over a year since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.
“With public health advances, we are hopeful for the future – including the vaccine.
”As Nigerians, we should do our best by abiding by the recommended protocols. We need to keep each other safe,” it advised.
The agency stated that the release of the vaccines was like the first step back to normal pre-pandemic life.
“But despite our slow crawl back to in-person socialisation, we’re nowhere near herd immunity (meaning when enough people in a population have been vaccinated so that person-to-person transmission is unlikely),” it stated.
According to it, “70 per cent of our population will need to be vaccinated to halt the spread of the virus.”
It said that not only could vaccines help us reach herd immunity, but they could also prevent new, more dangerous variants from emerging.
”For these reasons, getting the vaccine is a public health imperative,” it explained.