LOCAL Nigerian scientists have produced two local coronavirus vaccines from native plants and are currently awaiting clinical trials and certification of the products according to the presidential task force on Covid-19.
With a population of 200m, Nigeria needs purchase about 218.m doses of the coronavirus vaccine if the nation wants to combat the pandemic effectively. However, so far, the country had only received its first batch of 4m doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine this Tuesday under the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Assess Facility (Covax) programme.
Funded by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Covax was set-up to divide about 2bn doses of vaccines across 92 low-and middle-income countries. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), however, Nigeria will require about $1.4bn to procure and distribute 218,400,000 doses of Covid-19 for double doses for 60% of its population.
Apart from problems with securing the funding, Nigeria will also struggle to lay its hand on that many does of the vaccine as demand is currently high worldwide. According to Boss Mustapha, the secretary to the federal; government and the chairman of the presidential task force on Covid-19, the gap will now be bridged with local production of a vaccine.
Mr Mustapha said: The disclosure that Nigerian scientists have produced at least two local Covid-19 vaccines which are awaiting clinical trials and certification is significant. I call on all relevant agencies to provide the required support and an enabling environment for smooth conduct of the remaining protocols for the certification of these vaccines with a view to encouraging and motivating other researchers.”
He added that on Sunday, March 21 2021, the government received an additional 300,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines from MTN Nigeria. Mr Mustapha commended the organisation and urged other partners to contribute towards the fight against Covid-19.
Health minister Dr Osagie Ehanire, added that the racketeering of vaccines was unnecessary because vaccination had been scheduled in phases such that frontline health workers and those at higher risk of the infection were vaccinated first after registration at the portal. He said government met with the AstraZeneca group at the Federal Ministry of Health to address and efficacy concerns.
Dr Ehanire added: “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 me but the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control is monitoring the process as part of a global tracking of adverse effects of the vaccine.”
Also, the Federal Government has enlisted the support of regulatory and anti-corruption agencies to strengthen vaccine accountability and check cases of vaccine theft and mismanagement. Dr Faisal Shuaib, the executive director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, said that the government had commenced investigation of alleged mismanagement of vaccine in some vaccination centres, including the police clinic in Falomo, Lagos State.