COVID-19: Moderna vaccine rollout begins in Nigeria
NEWS DIGEST – Federal Government has commenced the rollout of its second batch of Coronavirus vaccines, the 4,000,080 Moderna vaccine doses donated by the United States of America.
The National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, said at the launch on Monday at the Federal Medical Centre, Jabi, Abuja, that the donation was to step up efforts to battle COVID-19 infection in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the donation was part of President Joe Biden’s promise to give 500 million vaccines to the world by the end of 2022.
The vaccines were being brought in through COVAX, the international aid initiative that sought to ensure global access to vaccines.
The U.S. Government shipped nearly 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to two of the most populous African countries – Nigeria and South Africa – as the continent battles the third wave of infections.
The initiative is part of the collaboration between the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust, AVAT, COVAX, and the U.S. Government, with the African Union member states set to receive about 25 million COVID-19 vaccine doses.
This is to enhance coverage across the continent and vaccinate at least 60 per cent of the African population.
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has granted emergency use authorisation for three COVID-19 vaccines – Moderna, AstraZeneca (from Korea) and Sputnik V.
The AstraZeneca approved is from Korea due to the stall in the procurement of AstraZeneca vaccine also known as Covishield, manufactured under license by Serum Institute of India due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
The NAFDAC had previously approved AstraZeneca (India), Pfizer bioNTech and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines, in February and May 2021, respectively.
According to the Director-General of the NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, NAFDAC has been preparing for this for about a year now.
“So you can ask yourself, why should I take the vaccine, because NAFDAC satisfy it, why should I take the vaccine because NAFDAC worked around the clock to ensure that the health of Nigerians is premium in whatever we do,
“Why should I take the vaccines because NAFDAC is the only agency in the world that is using track and trace to monitor where the vaccines goes.
“When the Moderna vaccines came from the U.S. we knew that the bar coding was not complete. So we had to have an emergency meeting to ensure we put the bar code in place.
“But it’s not just that, anything that comes into Nigeria, we have to test it. That is why you should go and take your vaccines, because we spend so much time on it.
“When you take your vaccine you may have a little bit of fever or rash but not to worry, we have the med safety app you can download it from Google.
“So if you have iPhone or Android, you can download it, you can self-report the part of side effects.
“Why is that so important? This is important because as regulators, we have to recall what side effects are being reported across the world so that we can save the health of people going forward,” Adeyeye explained.
Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Director-General, Nigeria Center for Disease Control, NCDC, said the vaccines have a long path from development to the acquisition, which the NPHCDA and all partners have supported the country with.
“As we celebrate the acquisition of these vaccines today and begin the second phase of distribution. I’d like to acknowledge all the healthcare workers across our country that have been working so hard in this response.
“As they continue working hard I ask Nigerians to please keep supporting them to deliver on these boxes, as we start queuing up from tomorrow to get vaccinated.
“Please be patient with our colleagues, line up carefully, they will get to everyone across every state in Nigeria, health care workers are preparing, as we speak, to deliver these vaccines to Nigerians,
“Let us work with them, let’s support them, let’s encourage them,” he appealed.
Ihekweazu, therefore, called on Nigerians not to be disruptive but should support the health workers as they have continued to support them from the beginning of the COVID-19 response.
NAN, reports that the Moderna vaccine is a two-dose jab given at an interval between four and 12 weeks.
Like Pfizer’s, it is an RNA vaccine and works by injecting part of the virus’s genetic code into the body, where it enters cells and tells them to create antigens.
These antigens are recognised by the immune system and prepare it to fight Coronavirus.
No actual virus is needed to create an mRNA vaccine, meaning the rate at which it can be produced is accelerated.
It also only requires temperatures of around -20C for shipping – similar to a normal freezer.
The Moderna trial results suggested efficacy against the disease was 94.1 per cent and vaccine efficacy against severe COVID-19 was 100 per cent.
More than 30,000 people in the U.S. took part in the trial, from a wide range of age groups and ethnic backgrounds.
Meanwhile, Moderna said the vaccine was generally well-tolerated, with no serious safety concerns identified.
Events after the first dose included injection-site pain, and after the second dose fatigue, muscle pain, joint pain, headache, other pain, and redness at the injection site.