COVID-19: PTF insists AstraZeneca vaccine is safe for Nigerians

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The Presidential Tasks Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has insisted that Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is safe for Nigerians despite the growing global concerns over possible side effects.

The National Incident Manager (NIM) of the PTF on COVID-19, Dr. Mukhtar Muhammad, made this known on Monday in Abuja at the joint national briefing of the taskforce.

According to Muhammad, the clinical trials had shown that the side effects are “generally mild’’.

He said that the WHO had in the last three days, through a series of briefings, vouched for the vaccine’s safety and efficacy, and that it had been proven that it had about 70 per cent efficacy level.

He, however, advised those who might have received the vaccine, but who have felt symptoms of its reactions for more than 24 hours, to report through the appropriate channels at the state level.

“The arrival of the vaccines is something that is very good and exciting in the sense that a combination of the vaccine and the non-pharmaceutical interventions can help us see the light at the end of the tunnel within a very short period of time.

“However, we have suffered a major setback in the last few hours, regarding the content safety and efficacy of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.

“We have seen in the news how some countries have deferred the usage of this vaccine or have suspended its use. That list of the European countries is growing.

“However, it is very reassuring to see that the regulatory agencies in those countries have continued to emphasise that the vaccine is safe and that the incidence of blood clots reported in the patients is not higher than the risk of blood clotting in people who are not vaccinated. That is really something reassuring.

Our correspondent reports that some countries in Europe have suspended the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine over concerns that the jab may cause blood clots, even though medicine regulators and the WHO say there is no evidence of any problem.

Germany, Italy, France, Spain and the Netherlands became the latest countries to pause the rollout of the vaccine on Monday.

Norway, Denmark and Bulgaria suspended their programmes last week.

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