RIVERS, Nigeria – Nigerians have advised the Federal Government to tighten all loose ends and avoid the infiltration of fake COVID-19 vaccines as the country prepares to receive its first tranche of the Pfizer vaccines approved by the World Health Organization, WHO.
The respondents gave the advice on the backdrop of reports about the side effects of the vaccine which is already being administered in several countries of the world.
Those who spoke in Port Harcourt said the Federal government should ensure that agencies saddled with the responsibility of approving products-use in the country do not compromise and fail in their duty.
One of the respondents, Bassey Effiong said, “If the vaccines have been tested and found fit for Nigerians then they should be distributed through the Ministry of Health and their agencies. This is because the Ministry of Health already has machinery in place to manage and distribute vaccines. We have seen how they inoculated our children with the polio vaccines, smallpox and others.”
According to Mercy Obinna, “We have seen people taking the Pfizer, BionTech and Moderna vaccines and those are the ones Nigerians know but because Nigerians don’t trust the system. There are fears that the Federal government may now go and buy COVID-19 vaccines from China.
“Thank God we have NAFDAC and this idea about strong institutions must come to play now like we have in the US and other developed countries. We know that in Nigeria people take bribes but if our institutions are strong I don’t think there is a need for Nigerians to fear,” another respondent, Kingsley said.
But speaking in Port Harcourt, South-South Zonal Director of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, Subolade Isijola, assured Nigerians that there is no cause for alarm.
Isijola said in a bid to ensure that counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines do not enter Nigeria, NAFDAC is taking precautionary measures across all the States of the federation to ensure that the integrity of the vaccines are not compromised.
“We have visited virtually all the storage facilities in the South-South and I can tell you that Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Akwa Ibom and Edo are ready to receive and store these vaccines. We are also collaborating with other agencies to facilitate smooth and easy distribution of the vaccines when they arrive.
“We are not taking anything to chance so that the integrity of these vaccines are maintained until they get to the end users,” she said.