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‘COVID-19 vaccines are safe, get vaccinated against the virus’

Over a year after the rollout of COVID-19 vaccination in the country, some people have not been vaccinated because they fear that COVID-19 vaccines are…

Over a year after the rollout of COVID-19 vaccination in the country, some people have not been vaccinated because they fear that COVID-19 vaccines are not safe.

Some of them question why vaccines were rapidly produced while some other common ailments were yet to get vaccines despite efforts for several centuries.

The COVID-19 vaccines utilized in the country include the AstraZeneca, the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines, among others.

However, relevant health organisations and experts in the country have assured members of the public that the vaccines approved for use in the country are all safe, and they should make sure they get vaccinated against the virus.

They said getting vaccinated protects the individual as well as other people around them.

Speaking during a COVID-19 update, Dr Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), urged Nigerians to get vaccinated. He said no death has so far been recorded from COVID-19 vaccination in the country.

“This should further serve to convince everyone that COVID-19 vaccines are safe. Let me, therefore, remind all Nigerians, that the second and third booster doses are critical to achieving high protection against the virus especially as it keeps mutating,” he added.

The director general of the agency, Prof Moji Adeyeye, said the NAFDAC Vaccine Committee has carefully assessed the vaccines in the country despite the fact the vaccines have been approved by stringent regulatory countries or have received WHO’s Emergency Use Listing (EUL).

She said a COVID-19 vaccine that has gone through prior approval from either of these two sources had gone through quality, safety and efficacy evaluation which is a prerequisite for acceptance by COVAX Facility. 

 According to UNICEF, COVID-19 vaccines have been safely used to vaccinate billions of people.

“The COVID-19 vaccines were developed as rapidly as possible, but they all must go through rigorous testing in clinical trials to prove that they meet internationally agreed benchmarks for safety and effectiveness. Only if they meet these standards can a vaccine receive validation from WHO and national regulatory agencies,” the organisation said.

Ladidi Bako-Ayegbusi of the health promotion division of the Family Health Department of the Federal Ministry of Health said that the approved COVID-19 vaccines in the country are safe.

She said, “The vaccine has been tested by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and by NAFDAC which is our own regulatory agency. At least we believe NAFDAC has proper equipment and they have tested it and they say it is safe.”

Dr Murtala Jibril of the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Bayero University Kano, said COVID-19 vaccines are safe and have a 94 per cent potential to protect vaccinated persons from the virus.

Speaking during a two-day media dialogue on-demand creation for COVID-19 vaccines, organized by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with the Child Rights Information Bureau of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in Kano, Jibril who also holds a PhD in immunology and vaccine development said, “All the COVID vaccines we have currently in Nigeria are actually very safe.”

Prof Oyewale Tomori, a renowned virologist and past president of the Nigerian Academy of Science said standards were not compromised nor were safety procedures ignored in producing COVID-19 vaccines.

He said it is a misconception when people say the vaccine was produced within a year, adding that its development had been going on for years.

He said COVID-19 vaccine does not contain any harmful substance or micro-chip, adding that all vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, are manufactured under strict compliance with WHO guidelines.

He said COVID-19 vaccine does not also alter DNA as peddled by some people.

“It triggers an immune response that will protect your body against the virus if encountered. Once you and your community members are protected, the chances of the spread of the disease are reduced,” he said.

 

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