Nigeria has reportedly developed its own COVID-19 vaccines
Nigeria has announced a landmark development in its pursuit of producing its own COVID-19 vaccines.
Is Nigeria really producing its own COVID-19 vaccines?
According to reports, the West African country has commissioned clinical trials for two vaccine candidates developed by its scientists.
Boss Mustapha, Nigeria’s government secretary and chairman of the Presidential Task Force revealed the breaking news on Tuesday.
“This is a welcome development that will open a new vista in scientific breakthrough and will boost the morale and image of the medical industry in the country,’ Mustapha noted in a statement.
Despite our valiant attempts to obtain certified information on this landmark breakthrough, we were unable to verify these claims. Moreover, no further information on the virological makeup of the vaccines has been made public.
At this stage, all we know is that two vaccine candidates are reportedly undergoing clinical trials and should be rolled out to the country once they’ve been certified by the country’s relevant health authority.
“The vaccines will be used after completing clinical trials and obtaining certification,” was all Mustapha could reveal.
Where is Nigeria in its vaccine programme compared to South Africa?
News of these homegrown vaccines, if true, could propel Nigeria into the lead as Africa’s superpower. From what we understand, the West African country has already begun its four-phased vaccine rollout with four million doses of the controversial Oxford-manufactured AstraZeneca jab.
Adding the homemade vaccine to its programme could give Nigeria an edge over South Africa, whose inoculation drive has been widely criticised.
However, Naija’s rollout has not been without a number of eyebrow-raising hurdles. From poor communication strategies applied by President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, to rising mistrust over shoddy statements made by the country’s leaders, it has not been a smooth sail for the West African country.
Some officials working closely with the government have expressed concerns with Nigeria’s preparedness. An official who spoke in confidence with Devex said (prior to the arrival of AstraZeneca doses):
“Nobody has told us anything, but we will not be surprised if they bring it [the vaccine] tomorrow and ask us to start giving people that same day.”
Dr Ifeanyi Nsofor, CEO of EpiAFRIC, a Nigeria-based health consultancy, voiced out his frustrations with the way the government was handling information around its vaccine acquisition attempts.
“I think part of the responsibility of the government is also for the minister [of health] and the head of the NPHCDA to be open with Nigerians. If they’re having challenges securing the vaccines, in bringing them in, they should let us know,” he charged.
At this time, it’s unclear how far into its vaccine drive Nigeria is. South Africa, on the other hand, has inoculated 220 129 healthcare workers.