Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General of NAFDAC

Nigeria plans to approve COVID-19 vaccine early 2021 ─NAFDAC

*Nigeria will need to procure theirs from whichever company they want or whichever company NAFDAC certifies to meet the needs of the population by April next year ─Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

As part of solutions to fight against the disruptive Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country, Nigeria is set to redouble efforts at licensing one of the vaccines under development globally for Coronavirus by April 2021.

Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in an interview Wednesday, December 9 said: “We are looking at the end of the first quarter of next year or the beginning of the second quarter” to approve a shot for use in Nigeria.

Adeyeye stated besides, Africa’s most populous country expects to benefit from the World Health Organisation-backed Covax initiative, which is working to improve access to vaccines for 92 low and medium-income countries, according to agency report.

The Director-General of NAFDAC disclosed the Covax partnership is also operating on a similar timeline for licensing its first coronavirus vaccine.

According to her, “the Covax facility will supply vaccines for 20% of the population.

“Nigeria will need to procure theirs from whichever company they want or whichever company NAFDAC certifies” to meet the needs of the rest of the population.

She noted that currently, NAFDAC has introduced guidelines to accelerate the licensing of COVID-19 vaccines that have already been approved by regulators, including the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the U.K.’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

The expedited review should take 15 days instead of several months, while WHO-approved shots will also undergo the fast-track process, Adeyeye stated.

A spokesman for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which is heading the project with the WHO and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, by e-mail explained that  doses supplied by Covax are intended to enable participating countries to protect “their most vulnerable groups” starting with healthcare workers.

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Adeyeye further explained though vaccine manufacturers are yet to submit applications to NAFDAC, Nigerian officials met with Pfizer Inc and makers of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine several months ago when they were starting Phase III clinical trials.

She said: “We told them that until the data is very robust we cannot register their product or even start the process.”

The Nigerian health regulator has not received any data on shots being produced by Chinese companies, in comparison with the information published by Western firms such as Pfizer, Moderna Inc. and AstraZeneca Plc, said she.

The Director-General noted: “We don’t know much about the vaccine from China. If it has been tested in the public arena, in the scientific arena, if it has been submitted to WHO. Yes, we will welcome any product from China.”

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