BREAKING:Nigerian scientists produce 2 local vaccines – PTF

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…Raises alarm over vaccines racketeering

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 said Monday that Nigerian Scientists have produced at least two local vaccines awaiting clinical trials and certification.

Chairman of the Presidential Task Force and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, who disclosed this at a briefing in Abuja, said the locally-produces vaccines would open a new vista in scientific breakthrough and boost the morale and image of the medical industry in the country.

“The disclosure that Nigerian Scientists have produced at least two local COVID-19 vaccines which are awaiting clinical trials and certification is significant. I call on all relevant agencies to provide the required support and enabling environment for smooth conduct of the remaining protocols for the certification of these vaccines with a view to encouraging and motivating other researchers,” he said.

He said Presidential Task Force has taken delivery of 300,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines from MTN Nigeria that are currently undergoing verification by the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

He said Nigeria recorded the lowest number of cases this year on Sunday.

“We have also seen a decline in cases in the high burden countries around the African region. This does not call for us to lower our guards as the virus is still potent and virulent.

This is the right time to adhere to the full compliance of the NPIs and be vaccinated.

“Although, situations around the world now show some increase in cases, especially in the Americas, Europe and East Mediterranean regions, which suggests that they could be a third wave, further affirms that non-compliance with COVID-19 regulations and growing evidence of vaccine hesitancy could endanger millions of lives,” he said.

He said a platform would be created in the course of the week to show Nigerians information relating to the management of vaccines and the pandemic.

He said new travel and quarantine protocols would also be unveiled to incorporate persons vaccinated against COVID-19 and make travels safe for international passengers.

Also speaking, Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, raised alarm over reported racketeering of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines in some of the designated vaccination centres across the country.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr Abdullaziz Mashi Abdullahi, the minister warned Nigerians to desist from the vaccine racketeering.

“We have received reports of racketeering in some of the designated vaccination centres. This is not necessary. Vaccination has been scheduled in phases such that frontline health workers and those at higher risk of the infection are vaccinated first after registration at the portal. Everyone will be vaccinated free and everyone will eventually be vaccinated. There is no need to pay to be vaccinated,” he said.

The minister said Nigeria has not recorded the reported unusual side effects of the vaccine, stressing that NAFDAC is monitoring the process as part of a global tracking of adverse effects of the vaccine.

“Anyone who has received the vaccine and is experiencing any adverse reaction, should please report to NAFDAC using the Med Safety App on your phone or report at the centre where you received the vaccination,” he said.

Also speaking, the Director-General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) frowned at cases of fake COVID-19 test results presented by travellers at airports.

“Many of you would have heard my previous comments around the verification platform for test results for travellers. That verification platform is now live.

“Last week, many returning travellers were turned back and handed over to security agencies because they were trying to travel with fake lab results. Sometimes these results were procured by agents. But to be honest, everyone has to take responsibility for the test results in your hand.

“From now on, all tests by private lab for travel purposes will be verified by airline, by embassies, by countries. We advise all Nigerians, everyone travelling should spare themselves the inconvenience and embarrassment by doing the test in one of the accredited labs, which you can find on our website.

“Before you travel please check the destination countries requirements if it include negative PCR test, do this in any of the accreted labs, and you will get the result that is verifiable through any of the airline. It’s very important to do this, I’m sure no one won’t want to turn back at the base of the airlines,” he said.

On his part, Minister of Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika said catering services suspended due the COVID-19 pandemic are to resume on both domestic and international flights immediately.

He said the decision was taken in consideration of the businesses involved in the provision of the in-flight refreshments who have been adversely affected by the suspension.

He said modalities and protocols for the resumption of the services would be rolled out by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in line with international practices.

He said there are plans to resume international flight operations at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu and the Port Harcourt International Airport.

He said members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 would soon visit the airports for simulation exercises to ascertain their readiness for international operations.

He said a technical working group comprising of agencies involved in the facilitation of passengers had been set up to ensure that all standards required for seamless operations at the airports earmarked for resumption of international flights are observed.

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