Nigeria on Friday began its rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine by administering the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab to health workers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Dr Cyprian Nyong became the first person to be administered the COVID-19 vaccine at a ceremony held at the National Hospital, Abuja.
Nyong was administered his first dose of the vaccine by Dr Faisal Shuaib, Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).
According to Shuaib, Nyong, who works at the National Hospital, has been on the frontline since March 2020, when the FCT recorded its first cases of the virus.
Shortly after he took the vaccine, Nyong was presented with an electronic card that has a QR code.
According to Shuaib, the code contains the information of recipients of vaccines and is needed to verify details of such persons, especially for the purpose of travelling out of the country.
“It shows exactly what vaccines he (Cyprian) has taken; when he took the first and the second doses, and it will also show his photograph.
“This is also an electronic card as it were because of the QR code. This card also contains the exact batch number of the vaccines that he has taken,” Shuaib said.
Dr Sahil Yunusa, the second medical doctor who was administered the vaccine, was credited to have attended to 10,549 patients at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital isolation centre, Gwagwalada, since the pandemic began.
Two other health workers were also vaccinated at the ceremony.
Earlier in the day, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) certified the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine safe for use in Nigeria.
Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health, disclosed this at the rollout ceremony in Abuja.
“I am also relieved again to announce that at 12 minutes past midnight today (Friday), I got a text message informing me that NAFDAC has certified this vaccine for use, otherwise we will not be sitting here today,” he said.
The vaccination programme commenced following the delivery of 3.94 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine by COVAX, an initiative set up by the United Nations and other development partners to help low and middle-income countries get access to the vaccine.
It also commenced exactly a year and six days after the country confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus on February 27, 2020, in Lagos State.
A total of 157,671 persons have been infected with the virus with 1,951 deaths recorded as of Thursday, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).