The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has disclosed that frontline health workers and other eligible individuals who have received first jabs of the COVID-19 vaccine can now take a second dose before 12 weeks.
The vaccinated persons, according to the agency, may no longer have to wait till 12 weeks from the date of the first shot as earlier stipulated, as they can return for the next jab after two months.
The NPHCDA had planned to exhaust the 3.94 million doses of vaccine it recently received as first jabs, but due to the current global shortfall of COVID-19 vaccines, the agency asked states to suspend the vaccination after using half of doses allocated to them.
This would enable those who have received their first jabs to complete their vaccination within two months, instead of 3 months as earlier stipulated.
Speaking during a meeting with the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Health Care Board on the vaccine coverage, the NPHCDA Executive Director, Faisal Shuaib, said: “We are also witnessing to vaccine nationalism that has led Covid-19 vaccine producing countries to restrict exportation and protect vaccines for their citizens.
“These developments have now necessitated that we reassess our vaccine supply forecasts and take the decision to ensure that everyone who has taken the vaccine in the current phase gets the second dose before the next consignment is delivered to Nigeria.”
“Furthermore, as a result of this overall program 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 8 to 12 weeks”.
Shuaib said the development was still in line with the scientific recommendation by WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE on immunization) that two doses of the vaccine be given at interval of 8 to 12 weeks.
Nigeria had received 3.94 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on March 2 from the COVAX facility and THE WHISTLER had reported that the first batch of vaccines may cater to less than two per cent of the country’s population.
However, in over 6 weeks since the roll-out began, a total of 1,081,548 Nigerians have been vaccinated, which is 53.8 per cent of the targeted proportion of the population.