Seven countries have now suspended the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine being administered on Nigerians for allegedly causing blood clotting and other health hazards.
It was reported by the Cable News Network (CNN), that Denmark, Iceland and Norway have suspended the use of the treatment, as the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is investigating the claims.
Other nations that have shelved the administration of the drug include Italy, Austria, Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Latvia. Denmark, however, did not state whether its reported death was connected to the batch.
Denmark announced a two-week suspension yesterday following reports of clotting. Iceland and Norway followed suit but did not disclose how long their suspensions would last.
Despite the statement by AstraZeneca on Thursday that patients’ safety was its “highest priority,” the stakeholders in Nigeria’s health sector have not said anything about suspending the inoculation of the vaccine in Nigeria.
But according to the Guardian, the Head, Public Relations Unit of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency said, “We are satisfied that the clinical evidence indicates the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to be safe and effective. Our assessment is in line with countries such as Spain and the UK which have indicated that they will continue to administer the vaccine, because it remains an important tool to protect against COVID-19.”
Meanwhile, President, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Prof. Innocent Ujah, had said: “You need to know and establish the reason for suspension of the vaccine in those countries before contemplating anything.”
However, the EMA has approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for use within the European Union. The US-produced one-shot vaccine has become the fourth to be granted approval by the regulator with the EU already ordering 400 million doses.
Meanwhile, 14 COVID-19 herbal medicines have been listed as safe for use in the country by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, but their degrees of potency have not been established.
According to the NAFDAC, the medicines are now harmless for consumption but their degree of effectiveness is to be determined during clinical trials.
The Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, who disclosed this yesterday in Abuja after receiving a jab of the AstraZeneca therapy observed that his organisation conducted a diligent study on the vaccine and confirmed that it is “safe and efficacious for use against COVID-19 virus.”
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