By John Ikani
The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib has revealed that no death related to the administration of the COVID-19 vaccines has been recorded in Nigeria.
Shuaib, who made this known on Thursday in Abuja at the National Vaccination on COVID-19 bi-weekly briefing, however, emphasised that mild to severe symptoms which were time-limited should be expected within the first three days following vaccination.
According to him, out of 1,284 adults enrolled in a study to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in the country, 52.6 per cent of enrolees reported non-serious adverse effects and only 1 subject or 0.08 per cent reported serious adverse effect in the first week following vaccination.
While noting that none of the enrolled subjects who reported adverse effects required hospitalisation, he said the study led by Prof Akin Osibogun, a Professor of Community Medicine at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, was carried out by NPHCDA in six States; Anambra, Borno, Edo, Katsina, Lagos and Plateau.
What the NPHCDA boss said:
“The overall aim of the observational study was to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in enrolled adult individuals 18 years and above who have received the authorised COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria for the purpose of safety signal detection.
“The study sought to estimate the incidence of adverse events following immunization with different brands of the COVID-19 vaccine in all enrolled immunised subjects.
“The commonest reported symptoms among vaccinees were tenderness at injection site 20.9 per cent and fever 20.3 per cent. Most of the reported symptoms (55.5 per cent) occurred within the first 3 days of vaccination while 40.2 per cent of the vaccinees with reported symptoms could not recall a time of onset of symptoms.
“Adverse Effects following immunisation were reported more in the older age groups with 61.5 per cent of those older than 60 years reporting symptoms compared to 34.9 per cent of those aged 18-24 years.
“The difference for age was statistically significant (p=0.003). Those with pre-existing morbidities were also observed to have higher rates of reported symptoms (AEFIs) than those without pre-existing morbidities even though the observed difference was not statistically significant (p=0.551),” he explained.
What you should know:
Conspiracy theories about COVID-19 vaccines took a dangerous twist last weekend in Nigeria when the news of the death of Chief Ladi Williams (SAN), son of the late legal icon, Chief Rotimi Williams, was confirmed to be related to the virus. The theories gained more traction because the deceased was fully vaccinated.
His brother, Chief Kayode Williams, who confirmed that his late brother died of COVID-19 complications, was quick to add that the late Ladi was fully vaccinated.
The news, however, raised several unanswered questions on social media while some of the questions raised bordered on the reason people should take the vaccines in the first place if they cannot protect them from dying.
However, experts have continued to maintain that COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing severe disease, hospitalisation, and death from COVID-19.