The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned the public to be wary of using the fake COVID-19 vaccines circulating in Nigeria, saying they can cause COVID-like illnesses and other serious diseases that could kill.
Director General of the agency, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, who raised the alarm, also warned government establishments and agencies, as well as private companies and big corporation, against ordering the vaccines without its approval, noting that COVID-19 vaccines are new and the side effects or adverse events must be well monitored; hence should not be used by the public.
Adeyeye, while briefing journalists on the safety of the vaccines via Zoom, said companies that manufacture the vaccines know they have to submit their application to NAFDAC if they are genuine, adding that the regulatory agency has not received any application from any manufacturers yet.
“There are reports of fake vaccines in Nigeria and these vaccines can cause COVID-like illnesses or other serious diseases that could kill. No government establishment or agencies, company or corporation should order COVID-19 vaccines without confirming from NAFDAC if the vaccines have been approved.
“COVID-19 vaccines are new and the side effects or adverse events must be well monitored. Therefore, if NAFDAC does not approve, the public should not use,” she insisted.
Recall that the Presidential Taskforce (PTF) on COVID-19 had earlier said Nigeria would take delivery of the first phase of 100,000 doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech approved COVID-19 vaccines by the end of this month, with the Federal Government planning to begin administering of the COVID-19 vaccine on Nigerians before the end of March.
According to the PTF, Nigeria also expects to receive free 42 million doses of vaccines in the second phase through the COVAX facility being administered by the Global Vaccines Alliance (GAVI.)
But reacting to the expected vaccines, Adeyeye said Nigeria would only take delivery and begin administering of the vaccines when NAFDAC gives approval and green light for use, as there are administrative work that needs to be done.
On NAFDAC meeting up with the process of approval before the timeline of delivery by the end of this month, Adeyeye said there are ongoing paper works to ensure the timeline is met, noting that incase there is a delay, it should be ready in a week or two weeks (February).
She said despite approval for the use of the vaccines by the World Health Organisation (WHO), they would not be used in Nigeria, except they are approved by her agency, noting that NAFDAC was discussing with manufactures of candidate COVID-19 vaccines concerning potential Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA), registration or licensing of their product, while assuring applicants that if Phase 3 clinical data are very convincing and robust, with regards to safety and efficacy, and the vaccine has been submitted to WHO for Emergency Use Listing, NAFDAC would welcome the application for EUA in Nigeria.