It’s dangerous to introduce COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria now – Virologists

January 6, 2021
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Virologists have advised the Federal Government against the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine at the moment, saying it is unnecessary to introduce it now to Nigerians.

A virologist at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Prof. Rosemary Audu, in an interview with our correspondent, said there would be no need for vaccine if 70 per cent of the population in the country had developed antibodies against the virus.

She said, “We do know that so many people have been infected; we’ll like to know whether we have herd immunity already. Do people have antibodies? Do they have protective immunity already? What percentage of the population has the immunity?

 “If we have up to 70 per cent of the population who have developed antibodies towards the virus, then we would say we’ve had herd immunity and may not necessarily need the vaccine. That is something that I’m sure within the next few months we should be able to tell.

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“NIMR is conducting an epidemiology survey where we are checking citizens for their antibody levels to this virus. I’m sure very soon, we would be able to advise whether the vaccines will be useful for us or not.”

The Director, Human and Zoonotic Virology, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Prof. Sunday Omilabu, in an interview with our correspondent said it would be dangerous to introduce COVID-19 vaccine to Nigerians at the moment.

He said, “There is something in us that is mitigating the virulence of the virus in our body. We may like to call it a kind of immunity that we enjoy through our environment. This is coming to us as an advantage; we have that herd immunity now, if anything comes in now, it may derail what are benefiting from.

“For us, I would suggest that they allow people to still use their herd immunity which they are enjoying and is a natural gift. They should concentrate on those few people that have some medical conditions that have made their level of herd immunity very low. The vaccine is dangerous now because we don’t know how it is going to behave in the long run.”

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