The Federal Government has asked all the states administering the Covid-19 vaccine to stop the exercise the moment they use half of the doses allocated to them.
According to reports, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shu’aib, asked all the States to suspend vaccination when they reach half of the doses delivered to them.
This implies that a state that was given 100,000 doses would have to halt the vaccine rollout once the doses hit 50,000 in order for those who have received their first jab to be able to complete their vaccination.
The move, it was learnt, had become necessary due to a possible delay in the supply of the next batch of the AstraZeneca vaccines, which could affect the availability of the vaccine for a second jab for those who have taken the first.
Confirming the development, the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora, said States were asked to stop vaccination halfway until more vaccines arrive because it was the smartest thing to do since it is a double-dose vaccine.
Mamora stated that the Federal Government might have to increase its budget for vaccines since AstraZeneca, which is the cheapest in the market, is not readily available.
He, however, said Nigeria was already having talks with other parties including Russia, which is producing the Sputnik-V vaccine.
The Federal Government had received 3.9 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines through COVAX, a global initiative co-led by the Global Vaccine Alliance, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and World Health Organisation, (WHO). The initiative was designed to ensure fair and equitable access for every country.
The vaccine arrived in Nigeria on March 2, while in the second week of March the government began distribution to states, except Kogi, whose governor, Yahaya Bello, had described Covid-19 as glorified malaria.
It was learnt that Ekiti, Bauchi and Kwara States had already administered half of their vaccine supply and had complied with the government’s directive to halt further roll-out.