COVID-19: Why Nigerians cannot be given vaccines – NMA

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has urged health authorities in the country to subject coronavirus vaccines procured from foreign developers to local trials before administering them to Nigerians.

The NMA, a collective of medical and dental practitioners in the country, expressed worry that developers of the vaccines may not have considered trial participants from Africa during clinical trials.

“If the (COVID-19) vaccines come to Nigeria, we need to quickly do our own evaluation of that vaccine,” NMA president Innocent Ujah said Monday while speaking on Channels.

“I cannot say with 100 percent certainty that in the process of developing this vaccine, in the clinical trials, whether any African countries were involved. I’m not too sure, but it’s possible,” Mr. Ujah stated.

Although Nigerian institutions were not yet carried along in the development of vaccines, other African countries have collaborated with medical experts across the world to tackle the deadly virus.

Kenya, for instance, recently partnered with Oxford University to develop a vaccine.

The NMA chair explained that indigenous clinical trials were expedient in light of disparities in environmental and genetic composition.

“While we do not question the efficacy and safety, the responses vary from place to place,” Mr. Ujah added.

Nigeria’s health minister Osagie Ehanire had in early December unveiled plans to inoculate at least 20 million Nigerians against the dreadful coronavirus when the first shipment of the vaccines arrive the country in January 2021.

Mr. Ehanire, who disclosed that the move was sequel to an agreement with the Global Vaccine Alliance Initiative (Gavi), also noted that health sector employees will be vaccinated first, before the vulnerable and individuals with chronic ailments.

No fewer than 20 doctors have been reported as latest casualties of the rampaging virus in the past week, as Nigeria’s COVID-19 cases rose to as high as 84, 414 as of Sunday, December 27.

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