The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) says 8,439 persons across the country have reported mild side effects after they received the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
Faisal Shuaib, executive director of NPHCDA, disclosed this in Abuja on Friday at a media briefing organised by the agency and the World Health Organisation (WHO) to give an update on the status of COVID-19 vaccination in the country.
While noting that those who reported severe side effects were less than 100, he said there has been no record of death or blood clots associated with the distribution of the vaccine.
“Out of over a million persons given the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria, 8,439 persons have suffered mild adverse events following immunisation (AEFI), and 52 persons moderate to severe adverse events on receiving the jab,” Shuaib said.
“While the mild reactions include body pains and swelling, the moderate to severe adverse events presented were fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, headaches, dizziness and allergic reactions.”
According to NAN, Shuaib listed the five states with the highest records of side effects as follows: Kaduna (970), Cross River (859), Yobe (541), Kebbi (511), and Lagos (448), adding that investigation is ongoing to verify the nature of the symptoms.
The executive director, who noted that the government has reviewed the timeframe for eligibility for the second dose in line with recommendations by WHO, added that the plan is to ensure that the first phase of vaccination is completed before the expiration date in July.
“Furthermore, as a result of this overall programme review to meet the challenges of global vaccine demand and supply mismatch, and the late commencement of the vaccination in some states, we are expanding the eligibility period between the first and second doses of the vaccine from 12 weeks to between eight to 12 weeks,” he said.
“This is still in line with the scientific recommendation provided by the World Health Organisation’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE on immunisation) that the two doses of the vaccine be given at an interval of eight to 12 weeks.”
Nigeria has received close to 4.5 million doses of the vaccine — 3.94 million delivered via the United Nations-led COVAX facility, while others are donations from India and private organisations.
Rollout began on March 5, and according to NPHCDA, more than one million Nigerians have received the first dose of the vaccine.