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COVID-19: We Haven’t Approved Any Vaccine Yet — NAFDAC DG

The NAFDAC boss reiterated readiness of the agency to examine the safety of any vaccine before being approved for Nigerians.

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The Director-General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), says the agency has not approved any COVID-19 vaccines for Nigeria just yet.

NAFDAC’s DG Mojisola Adeyeye, made this known in a statement issued on Friday in Nigeria’s capital Abuja.

She stated that no application from vaccine manufacturers had been received by the agency “and therefore, no vaccine had been approved by NAFDAC.

“There are reports of fake vaccines in Nigeria; NAFDAC is pleading with the public to beware. COVID-19 vaccines are new, and the side effects must be monitored.

“No COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by NAFDAC. Fake vaccines can cause COVID-like illnesses or other serious diseases that can kill.’’

While reiterating the commitment of the agency toward guaranteeing drugs security, the DG warned companies and corporate bodies against the unapproved ordering of any vaccine, noting that genuine manufacturing companies had to first submit applications to NAFDAC.

“No government establishment or agencies should order for COVID-19 vaccines without confirming from NAFDAC.

“However, NAFDAC is discussing with manufacturers of candidate COVID-19 vaccines concerning potential Emergency Use Authorization (EUA),
registration or licencing of their products as the case may be.”

Adeyeye however assured applicants of NAFDAC’s determination to approve vaccines for emergency use if phase three clinical data were convincing and robust with regards to safety and efficacy, and the vaccine had been submitted for the World Health Organisation (WHO) emergency use listing.

She laid emphasis on the commitment of the agency in using “Reliance” or “Recognition” to expedite Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for vaccines that already have been approved by mature regulatory authorities.

“The full dossiers submitted by the manufacturer or Market Authorisation Holder (MAH) will be thoroughly reviewed by the Vaccine Committee that is made up of multiple directorates in the agency.”

The NAFDAC boss reiterated readiness of the agency to examine the safety of any vaccine before being approved for Nigerians.

She affirmed NAFDAC’s collaboration with sister agencies as the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), UNICEF, WHO and the Ministry of Health, aimed at achieving a holistic approach for effective immunisation and delivery.

“NAFDAC plans to also use Traceability with GS1 Technology to monitor vaccine distribution, using Global Trade Item Number (GTIN).

“The goal is to prevent fake vaccines from infiltrating the supply chain and to ensure there is no diversion.

“This effort will create a reliable and predictable supply chain. The multi-stakeholder technical working group has been meeting to address different issues from
access to distribution to traceability to the monitoring of adverse events following immunisation.

“NAFDAC is also a member of Regulators Steering Committee of African Union -3S (Smart, Safety, Surveillance) with Ghana, South Africa and Ethiopia, collaborating
with UK Medicines Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) with funding from Bill and Melinda gates Foundation.”

Adeyeye concluded by explaining that the purpose of the continental collaboration was to use COVID-19 vaccines immunisation and distribution as a pilot to actively monitor the distribution, delivery and monitoring of Adverse Effects Following Immunisation at the continental level, targeted at creating an African-based vigilance system for the safety of medicines.

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12 Die of COVID-19 Complications in Nigeria

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Twelve people died of complications related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease in Nigeria, the country’s health agency has said.

According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) 571 new cases of COVID-19 were also recorded, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 153, 187.

The country’s daily COVID-19 infection rate has dropped below 1,000 for the seventh consecutive days.

It also recorded 12 COVID-19 related deaths, raising the total fatality in the country to 1,874.

The agency noted that the new infections were reported in 20 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

The Nigeria’s public health agency stated that Lagos state reported 170 cases, Ogun, FCT and Kwara reported 65, 45 and 34 cases respectively, Abia 32 cases, Enugu 32, Kano 25, Oyo 22 and Ondo 21.

Rivers and Kaduna reported 19 cases each, Benue 18, Bayelsa and Kebbi 12 cases each, Nasarawa 11, Akwa Ibom 9, Delta 8, Ekiti 6, Niger 5, Bauchi and Imo 3 cases each.

The NCDC said that 643 infected people recovered, adding that total recuperated and discharge stands at 129,943 now.

The health agency stated that the discharged include 214 community recoveries in Lagos State, 61 in FCT and 11 in Benue.

It said the number of active cases, had continue to dropped drastically.

The current active cases stood at 21,279 down from 21,567 in the past 24 hours in the country.

The country recorded a slight reduction in the number of infections, recoveries and deaths last week.
From Feb. 14 to Feb. 20, 5,849 new cases were reported in the country, the lowest in seven weeks.

The last time the country reported such a low figure was in the Dec. 27, 2020 to Jan. 2 with 5,681 cases.

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Ghana Receives COVID-19 Vaccines

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The West African nation of Ghana on Wednesday became the first country to receive COVID-19 vaccines from the humanitarian vaccine distribution mechanism Covax.

The arrival represents the start of a massive COVID-19 vaccination campaign encompassing 20 African countries.

“This is a momentous occasion, as the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines into Ghana is critical in bringing the pandemic to an end,’’ World Health Organisation (WHO) Ghana representative Francis Kasolo and UNICEF Ghana representative Anne-Claire Dufay said in a joint statement.

The 600,000 Covax-sponsored vaccines are part of an initial tranche of deliveries of the AstraZeneca vaccine coming from the Serum Institute of India, according to the statement.

The Covax initiative aims to deliver almost 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines in 2021.

“The shipments also represent the beginning of what should be the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history,’’ Kasolo and Dufay said.

“As health workers and other front-line staff are vaccinated, we will be able to gradually see a return to normalcy,’’ the two representatives added.

Ghana is planning to begin its vaccination campaign on March 2, said information minister designate Kojo Oppong Nkrumah.

Health workers, people older than 60 years, people with underlying health conditions as well as essential workers and teachers will be first to be immunised, according to Nkrumah.

So far, less than two dozen African countries have started COVID-19 vaccination, according to the WHO.

Africa has recorded more than 3.8 million COVID-19 cases, 3.5 per cent of all reported cases worldwide, and more than 102,000 deaths, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control.

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Turkey Repatriates 3 Turks Infected with Coronavirus from Tanzania

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The Turkish government has airlifted three of its citizen from Tanzania after they were infected with the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease in the East African country.

Turkey’s Ministry of Health said the citizens, identified as Halil A., Eyyüp K. and Oğuzhan A., were taken to Istanbul by an air ambulance where they will be treated.

The had applied to Turkish authorities for treatment in Turkey earlier.

Turkey, which offers free-of-charge air ambulance services for its citizens, occasionally brings COVID-19 patients from pandemic hot spots around the world for treatment.

Tanzania had stopped giving updates on the virus since April after President John Magufuli had declared the country coronavirus-free.

The director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus; the United States; and the local Catholic church had previously called on Tanzania to acknowledge COVID-19 for the good of its citizens, neighbouring countries, and the world, especially after a number of countries reported that visitors arriving from Tanzania tested positive for the virus.

However, on Sunday, Magufuli acknowledge there is “a coronavirus problem” in his country after the virus had claimed the lives of several high-profile figures, including vice president of the semi-autonomous Zanzibar region and the president’s chief secretary.

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