The federal government has stopped giving COVID-19 jabs to Nigerians because of the vaccine’s shortfall.
“We believe that in a situation where we still cannot specifically determine when the next batch of AstraZeneca vaccine will arrive, I think wisdom dictates that it’s better for us to vaccinate people fully,” said the Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, at Tuesday’s media briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja.
Mr Mamora added that it was also to enable those who had received their first jab to be able to complete their vaccination.
“So, we can say that we have a pool of citizens that have been fully vaccinated since this vaccination comes in two doses,” he said. “So that’s what gave rise to that directive, rather than just going ahead with just a single dose when the full dose should be two doses of the same.
Mr Mamora added, “So we felt that it was proper for us in the circumstance to ensure that those who have been vaccinated have been fully vaccinated.”
Meanwhile, a group of scientists, which serves as adviser to the British government over the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, has warned that regardless of vaccination, lifting restrictions over the coming weeks “may lead to a small surge of cases and deaths.”
Minutes from a meeting with members of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) published on Tuesday warned that there could be a rise in cases “of a similar scale to January 2021 after later stages” of the route out of lockdown.
The warning was made amid Britain’s success with its vaccine rollout, which has seen more than 31.5 million people receive their first dose of the vaccine, and 5.4 million receive both doses so far.
Scientists from the Imperial College London said due to eligibility, vaccine hesitancy, and the high transmissibility of the circulating variant of coronavirus, “vaccination alone will not be sufficient to keep the epidemic under control.”
They advised that Britain’s best way to keep hospitalisations and deaths at a low level would mean keeping restrictions at stage two, the planned easing beyond April 12, but it depends on people sticking to the rules.
Stage two allows groups of six people to meet outdoors, non-essential retail to reopen, pubs and restaurants to reopen outdoors only, gyms and salons to reopen.
However, international travel is not allowed, and events, such as plays and concerts, should remain suspended.
England is due to enter stage two on Monday, while Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland have already allowed some businesses to reopen.