Medical experts have disagreed on the most appropriate COVID-19 vaccine for the country as the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), yesterday, gave emergency use authorisation (EUA) for Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently approved Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use. The move to use the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in Nigeria has raised questions on the implications of approving a vaccine that was ineffective in clinical trials against the South African strain.
“What were the processes before NAFDAC authorised it? Why did Nigeria accept Johnson & Johnson vaccine as South Africa, since it is cheaper and can be stored in refrigerator for three months and defends South African variant unlike the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine?, they queried.
Chairman, Expert Review Committee on COVID-19, Prof. Oyewale Tomori, disclosed that NAFDAC’S emergency authorisation for the vaccine meant that it had approved it for use in Nigeria.
On the processes it went through before the approval, Tomori, pioneer Vice Chancellor of Redeemers’ University and a consultant to WHO, said: “NAFDAC is in a better position to answer the questions.”
Reacting to concerns that the vaccine was ineffective for the South Africa variant, Tomori said: “It does protect but not as much as it protects against non-South African variant. Moreover, South Africa agreed that the first trial might not have provided appropriate answers as to the effectiveness of the vaccine.
“They are now repeating the trial with more people. The WHO also said the first trial was flawed and that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine can still be used. So, we have not heard the final decision on the vaccine, but the verdict now favours the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.”
Director General, Nigerian Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) Yaba, Lagos, Prof. Babatunde Salako, said the implication was that the Federal Government could negotiate to purchase the vaccine for use in the country.