The Federal Government has announced a new date to begin administering the second batch of COVID-19 Moderna vaccines doses donated by the U.S.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed made the announcement on Monday when he appeared on a live programme at the Nigerian Television Authority in Abuja.
The minister said the postponement of the vaccination exercise from August 10 to August 16 was “purely administrative’’.
He denied reports in certain publications that the exercise was postponed indefinitely over concerned raised by some experts on the propriety of using Moderna vaccines.
He said, like the first batch of the Astrazeneca Vaccine which had been fully administered without hitch, the doses of Moderna vaccine donated to the country by the US were safe and meant to save lives.
The minister also disclosed that the second phase of the vaccination exercise would target people from 18 years and above.
He explained that the 18 years and above were targeted because the younger ones, even in the US, were now becoming more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection and attack.
Mohammed underscored the need for people to come out to take the vaccine stressing that “Nigeria has entered the third wave of COVID-19’’.
He explained that the Delta variant of COVID-19 pandemic which is more virulent and deadly had been recorded in some states since July.
Mohammed said following the pandemic, a major challenge faced was “infodemic’’ caused by fake news around the vaccine.
He reiterated the call on religious and community leaders, media and other influential people to join the Presidential Committee on COVID-19 in fighting fake news and disinformation around the vaccines.
Recall that on August 2, Nigeria received four million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines donated by the United States government.
Health Minister Osagie Ehanire said the vaccines, which arrived are undergoing validation by the country’s drug regulator.
He said the doses will be distributed to the local states once they are certified fit for use.