Despite the World Health Organization (WHO) and European Medicines Agency (EMA) declaring the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines safe and effective, more deaths and illness are still being reported from its use.

Denmark, which has since halted its use, said on Saturday that one person died and another fell seriously ill with blood clots and cerebral haemorrhage after receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccination.

Germany and France are amongst countries that earlier suspended the use of the vaccines but reversed their decision following an investigation into the reports of blood clots by European regulators.

Nigeria had in early March received 3.94 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines and has since commenced vaccination beginning with health care workers.

The Nigerian government, however, said it will not suspend the use of the vaccines because they were tested and authorised for use.

Here is a round-up of some of the health stories which made headlines last week.

A man is being tested for COVID-19 in Nigeria [PHOTO: TW: @NCDCgov]Nigeria on Saturday recorded its lowest COVID-19 daily infection figure this year, in continuation of a steady run of low figures that began last month.

The 112 new cases on Saturday is lower than the 120 infections recorded last Sunday, which was the lowest in 2021.

COVID-19 vaccine. [CREDIT: Duetsche Welle]

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Thursday declared the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine safe and effective for use against the virus.

This followed an investigation into reports of blood clots and possible deaths from the usage of the vaccines, prompting more than a dozen nations to suspend its use, the BBC reported.

The agency’s safety committee said the vaccine is safe but it would continue to study possible links between very rare blood clots and the vaccine.

Global Fund Headquarter

Few days after PREMIUM TIMES reported how a Nigerian company was indicted for an alleged $3 million fraud by Global Fund, President Muhammadu Buhari has demanded a periodic performance report on Nigeria’s latest grant of $890 million.

Last June, the health minister, Osagie Ehanire, announced that Nigeria received $890 million grant from Global Fund to reduce the burden of HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria over an implementation period of three years, beginning from 2021 to 2023.

COVID-19 vaccination [PHOTO CREDIT: WHO]

Nearly seven million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Africa, a World Health Organization (WHO) official said on Thursday.

WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, while speaking during a virtual press conference, said countries in the region have accessed vaccines through various deals including the COVAX Facility and are targeting high-risk groups in the vaccination exercise.

COVID-19: Nigeria says AstraZeneca vaccines are safe

As the controversy over the safety of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine continued on Monday, the Nigerian government assured of its safety as the country distributes almost four million doses of the vaccine.

At least three European countries – Germany, France and Italy – on Monday joined a few others who had suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Nigeria takes delivery of the first batch of Oxford-AstraZeneca #COVID19Vaccines from #COVAX.

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved N3.070 billion for Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to acquire laboratory equipment.

Speaking with reporters after the meeting, Osagie Ehanire, minister of health, said a total of N3,070,892,988 was approved for six contracts on procurement of laboratory equipment for NCDC.

He said the decision is to provide needed tools for future disease outbreaks.

President Muhammadu Buhari presiding over the first Federal Executive Council (FEC) Meeting of the year 2021. [PHOTO CREDIT: @BashirAhmaad]

To further drive acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccines in Nigeria, the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, has called on political leaders to take the COVID-19 vaccines in public glare.

Mr Abubakar while speaking at a sensitisation programme on COVID-19 vaccine for Muslim scholars and imams in Nigeria, on Friday, said this will encourage other people to take the vaccines.

NHIS subscribers exceed 10.2 million – NHIS

Over ten million Nigerians have now subscribed to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

In his progress report presented at an informal engagement with health correspondents in Kaduna at the weekend, the Executive Secretary of NHIS, Mohammed Sambo, said the organisation has been able to make huge recoveries from its cost-saving reforms.

National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)

Global treatment and diagnosis of Tuberculosis (TB) cases witnessed a drastic decline in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic currently ravaging the world.

According to new data released by ‘Stop TB Partnership,’ the pandemic has eliminated 12 years of progress in the global fight against Tuberculosis.

The data, released ahead of the 2021 World TB day, shows that nine countries representing 60 per cent of the global TB burden saw a drastic decline in diagnosis and treatment of infections in 2020, ranging from 16 per cent to 41 per cent.

Tuberculosis treatment.
(Photo: Jelle Krings/MSF)

Nigeria must improve on its health sector financing if the country is to meet the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) target by 2030. This was the consensus when some stakeholders gathered in Abuja on Wednesday to deliberate on ways to strengthen community systems towards achieving UHC.

Tagged “Universal Health Coverage by 2030: Driving the Agenda with community at the centre,” the event was organised by the Nigeria Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Personally Affected by HIV/AIDS (NINERELA+), a non-governmental organisation.

National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)

About 8,000 Nigerians have received their first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines, the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, has said.

Mr Shuaib while speaking at the weekly briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, on Monday, said no serious adverse effects have been reported from those who have been vaccinated.

President Muhammadu Buhari receives the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. [PHOTO: Presidency]


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