Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, President of PSN

Why Nigeria may wait longer to get COVID-19 vaccine: PSN

*Our fear is that it will take time for Nigerians to be able to get the vaccine, as the American Government, for instance, has put down millions of Dollars for the drug manufacturing companies, says Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, President of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Sequel to Pfizer and BioNTech’s announcement of their major breakthrough to the global world, with the newly developed Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine to prevent more than 90 percent of people from getting infected, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), has described the development as a success for the world, but worries that Nigerians might wait a little longer to access the much awaited vaccine soon after all.

Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, President of PSN, who stated this Monday, November 9, 2020, described the development as a success for the world community, but disclosed that the Federal Government of Nigeria has failed to make early financial commitments to the companies working on the various vaccines as of now.

Ohuabunwa stated besides, when the vaccine is ready, the companies will first satisfy countries and governments who have put down resources to complement their efforts on the vaccine thus far.

The PSN President stressed: “There is a possibility that with this vaccine, the country will be able to access it like any other country.

“However, our fear is that it will take time for Nigerians to be able to get the vaccine, as you are aware that the American Government has put down millions of Dollars for the companies.

“All the companies that are producing vaccines would want to supply to those that put their money down to help them complete their work before selling to other countries.”

According to him, “what is also worst is that the procurement especially in the area of this kind of infectious diseases is through donor funding.

“We are going to be waiting for those who put their money down. How I wish I am in the Ministry of Health.

“If I were the President (Muhammadu Buhari), I will be looking at how we can put our money down like others did, no matter how small.

“We cannot be waiting until those who participated in the trails are satisfied, and we will now be getting crumbs.

ConsumerConnect reports the vaccine, according to preliminary findings, has been tested on 43,500 people in six countries, with no safety concerns raised.

Two doses, three weeks apart, are needed and trials in US, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa and Turkey showed 90 percent protection is achieved seven days after the second dose, and that it can work for everyone.

The vaccine is believed to be a way out of all the restrictions imposed on people around the world.

Hitherto, Nigeria and many other countries imposed restrictions as a means of curbing the spread of COVID-19 that has killed 1,263,787 across the world, according to Worldometer.

Albert Bourla, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Pfizer, said: “The first set of results from our Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial provides the initial evidence of our vaccine’s ability to prevent COVID-19.

“We are a significant step closer to providing people around the world with a much-needed breakthrough to help bring an end to this global health crisis.

“We are reaching this critical milestone in our vaccine development programme at a time the world needs it most.” Based on supply projections, the companies said they expect to supply up to 50 million vaccine doses globally in 2020, and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021.

US biotech firm, Moderna, several state-run Chinese labs, and a European project, led by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, are thought to be closing in on potentially viable vaccines.

The Phase 3 clinical trial ─ the final stage ─ of the new vaccine, BNT162b2, began in late July and has enrolled 43,538 participants to date, 90 percent of whom have received a second dose of the vaccine candidate as of November 8.

Pfizer said it was gathering two months of safety data, following the final dose ─ a requirement of the US Food and Drug Administration ─ to qualify for Emergency Use Authorisation, which it expects by the third week November 2020.

“We look forward to sharing additional efficacy and safety data generated from thousands of participants in the coming weeks,” stated Bourla.

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