By Ayo Kehinde
Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has warned Nigerians over the circulation of fake COVID-19 vaccines in many countries. The Minister raised the alarm during a courtesy visit to the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, warning that criminals are taking advantage of high demands to produced unregulated vaccines.
“All the vaccines they are peddling around, a lot of fake vaccines are already in the market, because countries are very desperate. So fake vaccines are already being produced and being marketed all over the place. Don’t follow fake vaccines, follow warning from the NHCDA,” he said.
The National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has approved some vaccines for use in Nigeria. “So the choice of vaccines we are still waiting to see, Astrazenetra as well as the Russian Sputnic which is trending and has very high quality, and we are hoping that within the next 2-3 weeks, we shall receive. We placed order for a total of 42 million doses from Covax, another 41 million from Advert African, and we ordered 10 million from the Russians. What we are getting from the African Union is 3 types: Astrazeneka, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, that’s a single shot, which is good for nomadic people because you will not see them for the second dose.”
Ehanire however added that frontline health workers will be the first to get vaccinated because they are the ones facing the risk by getting exposed. “Vulnerable means those people who are at risk of having serious complications if they contract COVID-19. So those are the ones who would be prioritized for the dispensation once we are ready.”
The Minister reiterated that preparations are on top gear to secure quality vaccines as the government has set up a committee for the evaluation while the National Primary Health Care Development Agency stands as the body to deliver the vaccines. “COVID-19 will be with us for a while; it’s a big problem. We are hoping to start getting vaccines within the next two weeks, hoping to start getting and we have a Committee now that is going to also start evaluating vaccines; what kind of vaccines we get, how do we do the financing.”