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FG directs states to halt Covid-19 vaccination halfway

The shortage of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the international market prompts the new FG directive.

The Federal Government has asked all the states administering the Covid-19 vaccine to stop the exercise the moment they use half of the doses allocated to them.

This comes barely a month into the exercise.

Recall that Nigeria had on March 4 received almost four million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines.

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaibu, asked all the states to suspend vaccination when they reach half of the doses delivered to them.

The implication of this order is that a state that was given 100,000 doses would have to halt the vaccine rollout once the doses hit 50,000 in order for those who have received their first jab to be able to complete their vaccination.

The move, it was learnt, had become necessary due to a possible delay in the supply of the next batch of the AstraZeneca vaccines, which could affect the availability of the vaccine for a second jab for those who have taken the first.

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This may be a prudent move to guard against the consequence of vaccine nationalism, a new fangled Covid-related expression, which makes dozens of governments in wealthy countries scrambling to sign deals with pharmaceutical companies directly, to secure vaccines for their own populations — limiting the stock available for others.

The shortage of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the international market is caused by a surge in the demand by the European Union and a new policy by India which manufactures the vaccine.

India had said last week that it would prioritise domestic vaccination for its over 1.2 billion citizens, thereby causing a shortage in developing nations like Nigeria.

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