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NAPHARM, editors move against doubts about COVID-19 vaccines

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(Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP)

• Urge Nigerians to seek information from experts
Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPHARM), in partnership with Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE), has launched a six-day media week on COVID-19 to discuss and clear misconceptions and doubts about the vaccines.

At a virtual meeting on the event, Vice President of NAPHARM, Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi, said a committee of experts set up to address myths about vaccines during the media week would focus on facts and way forward on COVID-19 pandemic.

On production of vaccines, Atueyi said: “Vaccines are not like common tablets which one would start processing, do clinical tests, market surveillance and start selling. Vaccine production takes time, it takes nothing less than two years. These entire things of trying to produce vaccines in the country now would only have been done by advanced nations who already have the infrastructure and are capable of producing vaccines. They are not what we can produce easily. What we have now all over the country are being rushed. Enough work has not been done on them.

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“If you say a product will give us immunity for six years, then six years must elapse before you can prove it, but we are taking this because of the urgency involved. With the minimum test that has been done, we have discovered that we can use them, and we are managing them. Nigeria cannot rush it today. It is not a simple product.”

While calling on Nigerians and the media to seek the right information, Atueyi charged them to shun those inciting others to avoid COVID-19 vaccination.

President of NGE, Mr. Isah Mustapha, said: “Up till now, there is still a lot of myths surrounding the COVID-19. Some say it is not real and some say it is a device from the western country to depopulate Africa. The truth of the matter is this, you can only act based on the information available to you. I was in the village during Easter and I heard some people saying the pandemic is not real and that it is a means for doctors to get money.”

“And it is so bad that key clerics are coming out to say that the vaccines are meant to do something else. Conspiracy theory. I begin to wonder: are they experts in that field? As media, we are supposed to report expert opinions not the opinion of laymen like me. So, we feel that this partnership gives us an opportunity to talk to experts on this matter.”

Director of organisation of the special programme on COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Lolu Ojo, stated: “At this critical period, the country needs to fight the virus with the right information which was the basis of the synergy between pharmacy and the media.”

He described pharmacists are medicine experts who are well grounded in the pharmacological basis of therapeutics and have, in their possession, accurate and timely information needed to combat the scourge of the moment.

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