Nigeria’s National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) said on Thursday that the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines in the country are safe.
The agency’s clarification came hours after the director general of National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye insisted the vaccine is safe.
“We are satisfied that the clinical evidence indicates the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to be safe and effective,” NPHCDA’s boss Faisal Shuaib said in a statement.
NPHCDA said is aware that concern have been raised regarding batch ABV5300 of the AstraZeneca vaccine, adding that investigations are being conducted to determine if the batch is in any way linked to an observed side effect.
The batch has been suspended in Italy following the death of a navy officer after taking the jab.
The agency said Nigeria did not receive any doses from the batch of the vaccine.
Shuaib said the agency has not observed any adverse reactions since Nigeria began its vaccine campaign, adding that all side effects reported by those who have been administered the vaccine have been mild.
“We are aware of precautionary concerns that have been raised regarding one specific batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine, namely ABV5300,” he said. “Our assessment is in line with countries such as Spain and the UK who have indicated that they will continue to administer the vaccine, because it remains an important tool to protect against COVID-19.”
AstraZeneca still in play in Europe
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) issued a statement seeking to assuage fears.
“The information available so far indicates that the number of thromboembolic events in vaccinated people is no higher than that seen in the general population,” the EMA told AFP by email.
The UK called the jab “safe and effective”.
“When people are asked to come forward and take it, they should do so in confidence,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said, as AstraZenecashares plunged by more than 2.5 percent on the stock exchange.
French Health Minister Olivier Veran said there was “no need” to suspend use of the vaccine.