Opinion: The ado about AstraZeneca vaccine

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The Federal Government in March received 3.94 million Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured in India, donated by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Apart from the WHO sponsored vaccines, the country is also expecting 41 million doses through the auspices of the African Union.

In spite the controversy that surrounded the AstraZeneca vaccine, the National Agency for Foods, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) approved the vaccine as safe for use.

The European Union bans the administration of the vaccine due to the report that some persons who received the jab experienced blood clot. Germany, France, Italy and Spain suspended the use of the vaccine over blood clot report.

In Nigeria, the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello consistently insisted that the noise about Covid-19 was simply a hype, as the virus was nothing more than the common cold. The governor had publicly said that the vaccine is meant to cut the population of Africa.

But in an effort to assure Nigerians of the safety of the vaccine President Buhari and some of his cabinet members including the Vice President publicly took the first jab. President Buhari urged political, traditional and religious leaders to take the lead in the mobilisation effort within their sphere of influence. He advised that the vaccine offers hope for the safety of the country.

By and large, what the handlers of the country’s healthcare system cannot deny that there is apprehension over the safety of the vaccine but we are of the position that Nigeria should rather look inward to curtail the spread of the virus.

We are not unaware of the research and development being undertaking by the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRID) and other private Pharmaceutical Research organisations in the country. Should the Government invest in all these effort, it would save the country the financial resources being expended on importing vaccines and would also generate foreign exchange for the country through the export of such products to other country.

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