COVID-19: Made-in-Nigeria vaccines awaiting clinical trials — FG

March 23, 2021
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Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, hinted on Monday that Nigerian scientists had produced at least two local COVID-19 vaccines.

He said the vaccines were currently awaiting clinical trials and certifica­tion before it would become useful in the fight against COVID-19.

According to the PTF chairman, it was a signif­icant milestone and the research was a welcome development that would open a new vista in scien­tific breakthroughs and boost the morale and image of the medical industry in the country.

He, therefore, called on all relevant agencies to pro­vide the required support and enabling environment for the smooth conduct of the remaining protocols for the certification of these vaccines with a view to en­couraging and motivating other researchers.

Speaking further, he said a year ago, which is exactly March 21, 2020, a total lock­down was declared by the government in some parts of the country due to the coronavirus pandemic and noted that the socio-eco­nomic impact on the coun­try could not be underesti­mated.

“Many people lost their livelihood and many people lost loved ones. May their souls find rest with their maker.

“Yesterday, again, Ni­geria recorded the lowest number of cases so far this year.

“We have also seen a de­cline in cases in high bur­den countries around the African region.

“This does not call for us to lower our guards as the virus is still potent and virulent.

“This is the right time to adhere to the full com­pliance of the NPIs and be vaccinated.

“Situations around the world now show some in­crease in cases, especially in the Americas, Europe, and the East Mediterra­nean regions, which sug­gests that they could be a third wave, further affirms that non-compliance with COVID-19 regulations and growing evidence of vac­cine hesitancy could endan­ger millions of lives.”

He gave the impression that the PTF was having difficulty sensitising Nige­rians on the efficacy of the vaccines being deployed.

He said there was a sensitisation meeting of the Muslim scholars and Imams on COVID-19 vac­cination rollout on Friday organised by the NPHCDA, in collaboration with the Nigerian Supreme Coun­cil for Islamic Affairs (NS­CIA), where they urged the leadership of the Muslim Ummah to mobilise and educate their adherents to take the vaccines because it was safe and efficacious.

According to the SGF, so far, our record shows that over seven million persons have been vaccinated in Africa.

A platform will be cre­ated in the course of the week to show Nigerians every piece of information relating to the management of vaccines and, of course, the pandemic.

Commenting on the ef­forts of donor agencies, he disclosed that on Sunday, March 21, 2021, the PTF received 300,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines from MTN Nige­ria, which was acknowl­edged with thanks as other partners were encouraged to contribute towards the fight against COVID-19.

Govt Raises The Alarm Over Racketeering Of Vaccines

Meanwhile, the Federal Government on Monday in Abuja raised the alarm over reported racketeering of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines in some of the designated vaccination centres.

Mr. Abdullazzi Abdulla­hi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, spoke at the joint national brief­ing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.

According to Abdullahi, the racketeering is not nec­essary as vaccination has been scheduled in phases such that frontline health workers and those at higher risk of the COVID-19 infec­tion are to be vaccinated first, after registration at the portal.

“We have received re­ports of racketeering in some of the designated vaccination centres.

“This is not necessary. Vaccination has been scheduled in phases such that frontline health work­ers and those at higher risk of the infection are vacci­nated first after registra­tion at the portal.

“Everyone will be vac­cinated free and everyone will eventually be vaccinat­ed. There is no need to pay to be vaccinated,” he said.

The permanent secre­tary also said that gov­ernment met with the AstraZeneca group at the ministry and the meeting provided an opportunity for one-on-one clarification on the vaccines.

He said, “The outcome of the meeting was a reassur­ance of the safety and effi­cacy of the vaccine against COVID-19.

“We have not yet record­ed unusual side effects among those who have re­ceived the vaccine which include myself.

“NAFDAC is monitor­ing the process as part of a global tracking of adverse effects of the vaccine.

“Anyone who has re­ceived the vaccine and is experiencing any adverse reaction, should please re­port to NAFDAC using the Med Safety App on your phone or report at the cen­tre where you received the vaccination.”

While acknowledging that there had been a reduc­tion in the daily number of confirmed cases even with sustained testing rate, he said that the total number of confirmed cases in Nige­ria as of Monday morning was 161,737 from 1,727,467 samples tested with a test positivity rate of 9.4 per­cent.

He, however, said that Nigeria had recorded 2,030 deaths.

“In the last week, we have recorded a total of 1080 cases.

“This is less than what was recorded daily during the second wave even with sustained testing.

“While this is good, we shall not on account of this rest on our oars for it is still too early to do so.

“We shall continue to sustain our testing rate to ensure that we identify, iso­late and treat positive cases in the country.

“This is necessary to avoid a third wave which some countries are present­ly experiencing,” he said.

“In addition to this, we are sustaining distribution of available commodities, PPEs and consumables to ensure availability at all times for end users at treat­ment centres.

“Evidence has shown improvement in manage­ment of cases as many gaps identified during the supervisory visits are be­ing addressed.

“Some centres are op­erating in new and pur­pose-built isolation wards, while there’s an ongoing re­modelling of some centres, improved workflow, better IPC practice and availabili­ty of better equipment such as oxygen concentrators, ventilators, among others,” he said.

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