Nigerian authorities on Friday approved the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine under the COVAX Facility after undergoing an assessment, a development that clears the coast for vaccination in the west African country.
The National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), which carried out the final assessment of the vaccine, had certified it okay for use, said the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), which is coordinating the administering of vaccines in Nigeria, in a statement.
This development is coming ahead of the vaccination of frontline health workers and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, as well as his deputy and strategic leaders, who are expected to take the first doses of the vaccine.
“After undergoing final assessment by NAFDAC, we have confirmation that they have concluded their final checks with positive results. Nigeria can now go ahead and use the 3.94 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines,” the statement said.
The country on Tuesday received 3.94 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccines, the much-awaited first batch of vaccines from the COVAX Facility.
It is the first of such shipments expected to be made to Nigeria in the efforts to control the spread of the COVID-19.
Following the arrival of the vaccine Tuesday, samples were handed over to the NAFDAC to carry out a safety review.
Faisal Shuaib, the executive director of the NPHCDA, told reporters at a press briefing in Abuja Thursday that the frontline health workers would be vaccinated Friday at the National Hospital, Abuja, while Buhari and his deputy Yemi Osinbajo would get their own shots Saturday.