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FG okays emergency use of three new COVID-19 vaccines

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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Vaccine Committee has approved the emergency use of three new COVID-19 jabs.

Making the announcement yesterday in Abuja, the agency’s Director General (DG), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, named the vaccines to include Moderna (Rovi Pharma Madrid, Spain), AstraZeneca AZD1222 (SK Bioscience Co Limited, Republic of Korea) and Sputnik V (Gamaleya National Centre of Epidemiology and Microbiology, Russia).

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She said the panel had fully sanctioned the Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines, while giving conditional approval for the Sputnik V jab, adding that the agency has been carefully assessing several others despite their scaling conditions of stern nations and World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Emergency Use Listing (EUL).

Adeyeye noted that any therapy that had undergone both stages could have satisfied the COVAX Facility’s basic requirements of quality, safety and efficacy, stating that most regulatory agencies worldwide use this mechanism to hasten approvals for importation and administration of the doses.

According her, NAFDAC spends no fewer than 15 days to painstakingly examine dossier or submission package of vaccine to ensure that the benefits outweigh the risks and side effects for onward monitoring after vaccination by relevant health officers.

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The DG restated that NAFDAC did a thorough assessment of each vaccine and all passed the basic test, saying the Pharmacovigilance Directorate would conduct safety and monitoring studies to vaccines to record their side effects.

ALSO yesterday, the Federal Government said it had received communication for delivery of 12 million doses in two weeks as part of efforts to contain the third wave of the pandemic.

It also advised Nigerians to discountenance the news making the rounds on social media that the vaccine creates a magnetic field that causes metal objects to stick to the vaccination site and makes the body light up an electric bulb.

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Describing the report as handiwork of mischief makers to discourage citizens from being vaccinated at a town hall meeting organised by the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 in conjunction with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) in Lagos, the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora and NPHCDA’s Executive Director, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, said the country had done remarkably well in the management of the virus, urging religious and traditional leaders, as well as state governments to partner the President Muhammadu Buhari administration against misinformation and conspiracy theories.

Shuaib, who was also accompanied by Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, represented by the Minister for State Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, regretted that the fake news was coming at a time most Nigerians were beginning to guard themselves against the disease.

At the event were Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mrs. Folashade Jaji and Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi and top officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

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The NPHCDA boss said Nigeria recorded 14,550 cases of mild/moderate side effects, with only 148 cases considered to be severe, adding that no death was recorded from vaccination, thus ending the nation’s first phase of its strategic plan and signalling commencement of the second phase in the next couple of weeks.

Prof. Abayomi, in his contribution, observed that about a week ago, Lagos was diagnosing 30 new cases daily, stating that the figure has gradually went up to 60, 80 and above 100 in the last four to five days.

He added that all fresh cases were people who have not been vaccinated.

ALSO, the Lagos State House of Assembly, yesterday, urged proper monitoring of immigrants into the country to prevent the spread of the third wave of COVID-19.

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The call followed a motion raised the member representing Shomolu constituency, Rotimi Olowo, under ‘Matter of urgent public importance’ due to reports on the third wave of virus’ at plenary presided over by Speaker Mudashiru Obasa.

Olowo, who doubles as Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, pleaded that people coming into the country should quarantined for one week and made to undergo a mandatory COVID-19 test.

He implored the state government to embark on enlightenment of the public on the need to observe extant safety protocols.

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