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BREAKING: NAFDAC Concludes Final Test, Certifies AstraZeneca Vaccines Safe For Use In Nigeria

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…Begins Vaccination Today

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has certified the AstraZeneca vaccine safe for use in Nigeria.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, announced this on Friday at an event held at the National Hospital in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

He explained that the government agency cleared the vaccine for use in the country after it concluded its final test on it.

“The long-awaited day is here on which Nigerians can now join others in the global community to be vaccinated against the dreaded COVID-19 virus.

“For us in the health sector, it is a relief and the marking of the start of a tedious but hopeful exercise to see our fellow citizens develop immunity against this virus,” he told the gathering at the event.

Ehanire added, “I am also relieved again to announce that at 12 minutes past midnight today (Friday), I got a text message informing me that NAFDAC has certified this vaccine for use, otherwise we will not be sitting here today.”

Meanwhile, Nigeria on Friday commenced its COVID-19 vaccination as a medical doctor, Dr. Cyprian Nyong, of the National Hospital, Abuja, will receive a jab of the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine any moment from now.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, flagged off the exercise on behalf of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

At the exercise on Friday, Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, described the moment as a “watershed”.

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, also said it was crucial “to first cater for those who cater for us”.

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Nigeria Records Highest Covid-19 Cases In Six Months

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As states struggle to curb the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant, Nigeria is now averaging more than 700 new cases, says the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The NCDC, which disclosed this on Thursday morning, added that the country registered 790 additional infections on Wednesday, increasing the 610 cases it registered a day earlier.

Owing to a sudden surge, driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant, the country’s average daily COVID-19 cases showed that Wednesday’s increase was the highest since February.

The surge resulted in the federal government calling on Nigerians to take responsibility and adhere to preventive measures.

The NCDC noted that states were struggling to curb the spread of the Delta variant. Due to the spread, NCDC observed that Lagos set a new record for COVID-19 on Wednesday with 574 cases, and infections in Rivers jumped to 83, Ondo (38), Ogun (31), Oyo (23), Delta (10), the FCT (9), Ekiti (7), Edo (6), Osun (4).

Anambra and Bayelsa recorded two cases each, and Plateau had one, while Kano, Nasarawa, and Sokoto, reported zero cases, NCDC said.

One new death was also recorded on Wednesday, bringing the nation’s fatality count, since the pandemic started, to 2,195.

The NCDC added that 74 people recovered and were discharged from various isolation centres on Wednesday, with total recoveries nationwide since the onset of the pandemic clocking 166,203.

It also disclosed that the country’s active cases had soared to 11,500

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Threat Of COVID-19 Third Wave Real, Imminent In Africa – WHO

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Representative of the World Health Organisation in Nigeria (WHO) Walter Kazadi has said that the threat of a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was real and imminent in most African countries including Nigeria.

Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja on Tuesday, Kazadi stated that adherence to COVID-19 preventive measures such as social distancing, regular washing of hands and coughing into bent elbows should be intensified.

He stressed the need for rapid distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and adherence to the Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions, recommended by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Also speaking at the press briefing, the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) Faisal Shuaib said Nigeria is set to receive 3.92 million additional doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines from COVAX.

“We now have information that Nigeria will get 3.92 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca by the end of July or early August, 2021.

“As we receive additional information on the exact dates, we will provide an update regarding timelines and details,” Shuaib said.

Shuaib also urged Nigerians who had received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to get the second dose on or before the close of its administration by June 25.

“Recall that we officially closed the vaccination for the first dose on May 24, 2021. Since then, we have been inundated with requests by Nigerians to be vaccinated. In response, we have decided to reopen vaccination for the first dose from today.

“This means anyone 18 years and above who has not been vaccinated should visit the nearest vaccination site for the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

“For such persons, their second dose will be due in 12 weeks and by then we would have received the next consignment of vaccines.”

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Pfizer Identifies Counterfeit Covid-19 Vaccines In Mexico, Poland

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US pharmaceutical company Pfizer has identified fake doses of its vaccine against Covid-19 in Mexico and Poland, Sputnik quoted The Wall Street Journal report.

In Mexico, some 80 people got fraudulent vaccines at a clinic for about US$1,000 (RM4,110) per dose. The doses also had fake labels.

In Poland, fake doses of the Covid-19 vaccine are likely to have been an anti-wrinkle medicine. The Polish authorities said that no one had received the fake vaccines.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11, 2020. To date, more than 143.48 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 3.05 million fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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