The Federal Government has disclosed that the country would begin administering the second batch of COVID-19 Moderna vaccines doses donated by the United States on August 16 to eligible Nigerians
It explained that the delay in the administration of the vaccine was to ensure relevant stakeholders evaluate the doses and certify it safe for usage before Nigerians begin to take the jab.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said that the postponement of the vaccination exercise from Aug. 10 to Aug. 16 was “purely administrative’’ and to protect Nigerians from possible hitches.
Speaking during a popular Television Show on Monday, the minister faulted reports in certain publications that the exercise was postponed indefinitely over concerns raised by some experts on the propriety of using Moderna vaccines.
He said that as the first batch of the Astrazeneca Vaccine which had been fully administered without hitches, the doses of Moderna vaccine donated to the country by the US were “safe and meant to save lives’’
According to him, We have received 4,80,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine and we will commence administering the doses on Monday Aug. 16. The exercise was supposed to commence tomorrow Aug. 10, but we suspended it till Monday, and the reason is purely administrative.
“You see, when vaccines arrive the country, they are taken to National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). The agency will analyse them and thereafter give us a green light for their use.
“I want to thank Nigerians for the way they responded to the first batch of Astrazeneca Vaccine. I can say authoritatively that we succeeded in administering the four million doses of the vaccine and we do not have a single expired vaccine. They were all administered to the targeted population. I want to encourage Nigerians to come out also to take the Moderna vaccine
The minister also disclosed that the second phase of the vaccination exercise would target people from 18 years and above. He explained that the 18 years and above were targeted because the younger ones, even in the US, were now becoming more vulnerable to COVID-19infection and attack
Mohammed underscored the need for people to come out to take the vaccine stressing that “Nigeria has entered the third wave of COVID-19’’. He explained that the Delta variant of COVID-19 pandemic which is more virulent and deadly had been recorded in some states since July.
“If you have our two doses, it is clear that even if you are infected with COVID-19, it will be very mild. You will not be hospitalised, talk less of death as opposed to the fellow that has not taken the vaccine. So, we must encourage people to go out and take the vaccine,’’ he said.
Mohammed said that following the pandemic, a major challenge faced was “infodemic’’ caused by fake news around the vaccine.
“For instance, they first came up with the fake news that it has a magnetic effect if you take the vaccine. After that, they said it was meant to depopulate certain parts of the country. All this is not true because every vaccine you use today has been proven to be safe and to save a life. If the vaccines are not safe, they will not be administered,’’ he said.
Mohammed reiterated the call on religious and community leaders, media, and other influential people to join the Presidential Committee on COVID-19 in fighting fake news and disinformation around the vaccines.
It would be recalled that Nigeria received four million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines donated by the United States government on August 2.