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COVID-19 vaccines don’t prevent infection, academy cautions

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Prof. Oyewale Tomori


Vouches for safety, efficacy of jabs, warns of third wave

The Nigerian Academy of Science (NAS) has warned that COVID-19 vaccines do not prevent infection but instead stop the virus from killing the patient.

This is even as it raised the alarm of a possible third wave of the pandemic if the citizenry do not religiously adhere to non-pharmacological measures such as wearing of facemasks, physical distancing and regular washing of hands.

At a media roundtable themed “Journalism, Pandemic, and Vaccines: Where do we go from here?” yesterday in Lagos, NAS President, Prof. Ekanem Braide, and Chairman, Ministerial Expert Advisory Committee on COVID-19, Prof. Oyewale Tomori, urged Nigerians to take the jabs, as they were safe and efficacious.

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During the event, organised in collaboration with Vitafoam Nigeria Plc, Tomori cautioned: “We are going to get a third wave if we do not change our attitude. People no longer wear their facemasks. Nigerians no longer observe social distancing. It is now business as usual.”

He continued: “You rarely see people washing their hands with soap and water again. We have let down our guards and that should not be so. It is an invitation to anarchy.

“We must be careful. We should not relax because there is now a vaccine. Vaccine does not prevent you from infection, but prevent the disease from killing you. Vaccine does not prevent you from exposure and does not stop infection. Vaccine prevents infection from developing to disease. Vaccination is not the same as immunisation. Immunisation is successful vaccination.

“The outcry against COVID-19 vaccines due to issues of blood clot is not necessary. The jabs, according to available evidence, are very safe and effective compared to (those of) polio and yellow fever.”

Tomori, who is also Chairman, Biovaccines Nigeria Limited (BVNL), blamed the inability of the Federal Government to begin local production of vaccines, especially that of COVID-19, on corruption in high places.

BVNL is a joint venture between May & Baker Nigeria Plc and the Federal Government with a strategic goal of resuscitating and advancing local production and development of vaccines in the country.

The virologist claimed: “The Federal Government had released N10 billion for the kick-off of Biovaccines Nigeria plant in Ota, Ogun State. The lawmakers came for an oversight function and suggested that N5 billion would be released at the first instance and the other N5 billion later. This is unbecoming. They are playing politics with something as serious as saving lives with local vaccines.”

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