Prioritise procurement of doses to achieve herd immunity, NARD tasks FG
NPHCDA vaccinates 1,114, 408 persons with 1st dose
By Sola Ogundipe & Chioma Obinna
Nigerians have been admonished to take the COVID-19 jabs when it is their turn to be vaccinated.
A renowned professor of virology and former president of the Nigeria Academy of Science, NAS, Professor Oyewale Tomori who made the call on Tuesday in Lagos however warned that the 3rd wave of COVID-19 infections was imminent if Nigeria becomes complacent.
Tomori who spoke in Lagos at a media roundtable, themed: “Journalism, Pandemic, and Vaccines: Where do we go from here?”, organised by the NAS, in collaboration with Vitafoam Nigeria Plc, urged Nigerians to go for their shots as directed as soon as it is their turn to be vaccinated.
“Take the vaccine, do not debate it because there is no debate about this. We should continue to take the vaccine.
“The 3rd wave may come if we do not change our attitude. Although we are currently witnessing a decrease in infections, the number of new cases may spike in the coming months,” he cautioned.
In his presentation entitled “COVID-19 Vaccines: To take or not to take”, Tomori said the protective effect of the vaccine is not immediate because it takes some time for it to begin to work in the body.
“When you are vaccinated, the vaccine does not begin to work immediately, it takes time. The day that you take the vaccine is not the day that you develop immunity, it takes between 10-12 days for the vaccine to work.”
According to Tomori, vaccines do not prevent exposure to COVID-19 infection because they were not designed to stop infection.
“So if you are not wearing your mask or you wear it carelessly, you can get infected. The vaccine does not stop the infection, it prevents the infection from becoming disease and the disease from becoming death.
“Prevention does not have to do with the vaccine, it has to do with you, the individual. It is your actions or inactions such as wearing your mask and social distancing that prevents infection. If you get exposed you will get infected,” he stressed.
Explaining that vaccination is not the same as immunisation, Tomori described immunisation as successful vaccination.
He said the efficacy of one vaccine can only be comparable with the efficacy of another vaccine if both have been tested with the same parameters.
“The vaccines must be run under the same conditions in order for their efficacy to be comparable. You cannot compare the efficacy of vaccines except the tests are done under the same conditions.
“The WHO actually says that each vaccine must have at least 50 percent efficacy in order to be useful.”
Calling for effective scientific communication, Tomori said that the information that is produced by the federal government should be more proactive than reactive in order to narrow the communication gap.
There should be more education and enlightenment.
“You can achieve immunity through herd immunity but research shows that the level of herd immunity experienced so far is lower than expected.
“So you need to wear your mask, herd immunity is not the solution to the virus, it is vaccines.
“Covid is worse than the flu and because of the way that the virus is spreading it is necessary to wear your mask.”
On the issue of risks associated with the vaccine, Tomori argued that there is no vaccine without risks. he mentions the level of risk associated with polio and yellow fever vaccines.
In her own contribution, the President of the NAS, Prof Ekanem Braide, who noted that the media was critical to stamping out the virus, said the world and Nigeria in particular, needs to speed up the t exit of this tiny virus that has caused so much havoc globally.
Prioritise procurement of vaccine doses — NARD
The President of the National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, Dr Okhuaihesuyi Uyilawa, has stressed the need for the Federal government to prioritise the procurement of more vaccines for Nigerians so that the country to achieve herd immunity.
Making the call in a chat with Vanguard, Uyilawa, said to address vaccine apathy in Nigeria, the government needs to do more advocacy and enlighten Nigerians of the benefit of being vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccines.
The NARD President, who insisted that Nigerians stand to gain more when vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine, lamented that the pandemic has dealt with people across the world and every country would want to keep their citizens safe.
Continuing, Uyilawa who acknowledged that the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NPHCDA, has done a good enlightening Nigerians on the advantages of vaccination, added: “The advantages are more beneficial to Nigerians than the side effects and the apathy being experienced across the world.
“There is apathy towards getting the vaccines and there are plenty of videos all over the world telling you about the side effects but I have encouraged my parents and every member of my family to take the vaccine.
“I have also taken mine and I am encouraging all Nigerians to also try and get theirs. It will go a long way to help the country get the required herd immunity.”
On whether the vaccination should be made compulsory, he said: “Everybody has a choice to want to get good healthcare or to get vaccinated. Putting it into law for it to be made compulsory is like bridging people’s own rights. Which we don’t normally want to do in the medical world.
“For everything in medicine you need the patient’s consent and in medicine, the patient’s consent is respected at all times. If you bridge their consent it is something you can be sued for and there are consequences for bridging their consent.
“Government can do more of advocacy to tell them what they stand to benefit by getting vaccination than the apathy. That will do better work for all of us.”
Reacting to agitation by some European countries for vaccine passports, Uyilawa said It is an obvious truth that vaccine passports would be required at some point in the future because all governments would want to protect their citizens.
“I am encouraging all Nigerians to get the vaccine. This is because for those that travel out, at one point people will be asked to show their COVID-19 card just like yellow fever. Definitely, it will become one of the criteria if anyone is trying to get out of the country.
Further, he called on the Federal government to pay more attention to healthcare as well as procure more COVID-19 vaccines to avert possible shortages in the country.
“Government needs to pay more priority to health sector because health is wealth. When you get your citizens vaccinated that means you are trying to encourage and develop your economy.
It is a healthy economy that leads to productivity. It is very important that for government to pay more priority to the health of Nigerians.
I am encouraging those in authority to buy more vaccines and channel all special intervention funds to the health sector for better healthcare services and getting the required herd immunity.”
Nigeria vaccinates 1,114,408 persons with 1st dose
As of Tuesday, April 20, 2021, a total of 1,114, 408 persons representing 55.4 percent of the eligible persons targeted with the Astrazeneca COVID-19 vaccine have been administered their first dose, according to an update released by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA.
A breakdown of the update contained in an Electronic Management of Immunisation Data, EMID, System, showed that Lagos remains ahead in the exercise with 209,734 persons vaccinated.
Trailing Lagos are Kano, 58,749; Kaduna, 57,241; Ogun, 53,286; the FCT, 50,541; Katsina, 39,523; Bauchi, 36,308; Oyo, 38,978; Ondo, 31,506; Kwara, 31,230; Edo, 29,468; Jigawa, 28,451 among others.
In response to the global shortfall of COVID-19 vaccines and the late commencement of the vaccination in some States, the NPHCDA is expanding the eligibility period between the first and second doses of the vaccine from 12 weeks to between 8 to 12 weeks.
The agency said it is in line with the scientific recommendation provided by the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts, SAGE, on immunisation that the two doses of the vaccine be given at 8-12 weeks intervals.