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Updated: Fake COVID-19 vaccines are being imported into Nigeria, NAFDAC warns

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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says it has reports of the importation of fake COVID-19 vaccines into Nigeria.

Director General of the agency, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, who stated this during a virtual press conference, urged Nigerians to avoid the fake vaccines, saying, “They can cause COVID-like illnesses or other serious diseases that could kill.”

She said the agency had not received any application from COVID vaccine manufacturers yet and therefore no vaccines had been approved by NAFDAC.

“COVID-19 vaccines are new, and the side effects or adverse effects must be well monitored, therefore, if NAFDAC does not approve, the public should not use,” the NAFDAC boss said.

Adeyeye said no government establishment or agencies should order COVID-19 vaccines without confirming from NAFDAC if the vaccine had been approved.

However, she said NAFDAC “is discussing with manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines” concerning potential Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA), registration or licensing of their product.

She assured applicants that if Phase 3 clinical data are very convincing and robust with regard to safety and efficacy, and the vaccine submitted for WHO for Emergency Use Listing, “NAFDAC will welcome the application for Emergency Use Authorisation in Nigeria.”

She added that companies manufacturing the vaccines cold submit their application to NAFDAC if genuine.

On the issue of the EUA, the NAFDAC DG said it would use “reliance” or “recognition” to expedite action on approvals for vaccines already approved by more matured regulatory authorities.

However, she said that the full dossier submitted by the manufacturer or Market Authorisation Holder (MAH) would be thoroughly reviewed by the vaccine committee made up of multiple directorates in the agency – Drug Registration and Regulatory Affairs, Drug Evaluation and Research, Pharmacovigilance and Post Marketing Surveillance, Drug, Biologics and Vaccines Laboratory Services.

Despite the use of Reliance for the EUA, NAFDAC DG said it would note clinical peculiarities in form of serious or Adverse Effects Following Immunisation (AEFIs) in the dossier or application as a guide and caution on what to look out for in each subject after immunisation.

She said that the agency had been training its personnel for this very important aspect of the immunisation.

“The agency established COVID-19 Vaccine Committee that has been busy developing the guidelines and guidance. NAFDAC is the first National Regulatory Agency in Africa to have Guidance on Regulatory Preparedness for EUA, Licensing or Access to COVID-19 Vaccines.

“NAFDAC initiated multi-stakeholder collaboration with National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), UNICEF, WHO and Ministry of Health. The focus is to use a holistic approach for the effective immunisation or delivery of the vaccines and monitor any Adverse Effects Following Immunisation (AEFI).

“The agency will also use its recently launched Med Safety App for Active Pharmacovigilance of the vaccines in collaboration with the sister agencies. The App is free, and millions of healthcare workers can download it free for ADR reporting. In-country training on the use of the App has begun for the healthcare givers,” she said.

The NAFDAC boss said once approval was given by the agency, it would thoroughly monitor the distribution and use of COVID-19 vaccines in the country to safeguard Nigerians from any possible adverse effects.

Adeyeye said NAFDAC planned to use the traceability with GS1 technology to monitor the vaccine distribution in Nigeria using Global Trade Item Number (GTIN).

She said the goal was to prevent fake vaccines from infiltrating the supply chain and to ensure there was no diversion, adding that the effort would create a reliable and predictable supply chain.

According to her, a multi-stakeholder technical working group has been meeting to address different issues, from access to distribution to traceability (track and trace) of the vaccines, to monitoring of adverse effects following immunisation.

Lagos reopens two isolation centres

Meanwhile, Lagos State Government has announced that it will be reopening two COVID-19 isolation centres which were initially decommissioned, following the increased cases of coronavirus in the state.

According to the state Commissioner for Health Prof. Akin Abayomi, the reopening will boost confidence in tackling cases as they arise.

Abayomi said, “Just to be on the safe side, we are reopening two of our decommissioned facilities, that is at Ajah and Ikeja. We are also reopening Gbagada isolation facility.

“This is just to give us the confidence that in case we suddenly continue to see higher numbers of severe cases, we will have somewhere to manage them.”

The commissioner also revealed that the state government was working on building oxygen plants for more health facilities.

Abayomi added, “In addition, we are making our own oxygen so we just erected the first of two plants at IDH. The second one will be at Gbagada and that plant produces oxygen on the grounds of our hospital and it can produce up to 60 cylinders a day. A very sick patients can use up to four or six cylinders in 24 hours.”

  • The story was first published by Thisday and adapted by Newstrends with minimum correction.

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Lagos govt revives sanitation competition among LG LCDAs

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By Dada Jackson

Lagos State Government has announced the resuscitation of the environmental sanitation competition among all local governments and council areas in the state.

Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tunji Bello, in a statement, said the competition was being brought back to reawaken the consciousness of every resident with local governments serving as the pivot of the campaign.

Bello explained that since the programme suffered a setback in 2017 through a court stoppage of the monthly environmental sanitation, adding that everyone had let down their guard, thus aggravating various environmental issues.

He stated that part of the benefits derivable was bringing about healthy competition in sanitation and hygiene practices amongst communities, markets and LG/LCDA.

Others are improvement in the environmental conditions of the state especially on highways, roads and streets, markets, schools and discourage illegal street trading.

The commissioner said the competition would take input of actors in the communities including local government chairmen, community leaders,  traditional rulers, transport unions and market leaders.

He informed that an assessment committee which would start work in May had been constituted with membership drawn from the Environment Ministry and Local Government and Community Affairs and other relevant MDAs to inspect all public utilities.

The assessment committee will also inspect the general aesthetics of the scheduled LG/LCDA and the commitment of each to environmental management.

Bello listed some of the criteria for the assessment of each LG/LCDA to include culture of bagging of refuse, clean and flowing drains, LAWMA PSP patronage and vegetal control.

Others are markets cleanliness; landscaping and beautification of LG/LCDA secretariat; control of illegal structures, shanties, black spots, illegal refuse dumps; encroachment on drainage setbacks; street trading, abandoned buildings, land and properties.

The assessment is expected to be rounded off in November with an award ceremony during which mouth-watering prizes will be presented to the winner and first runners-up LG/LCDA, according to the commissioner.

Consolation prizes would be given to the cleanest market, school, environmental sanitation friendly motor park/garage amongst others, he added.

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23 killed in Zamfara traders, vigilante group clash

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A clash between Fulani traders and a vigilante group in Zamfara State has led to the death of about 20 persons.

The killings were said to have occurred at Dansadau in the Maru Local Government Area of the state as a reprisal for the death of three people at Ruwan Tofa and the rustling of cattle.

A report by The PUNCH, quoted a resident of the area, Mohammed Nuhu, as saying some bandits attacked Ruwan Tofa, killed three people, including a member of Yansakai, a proscribed vigilante group, and rustled cattle.

Nuhu said the rustled cattle were then put on sale at Dansadau Market, where the Yansakai members from Ruwan Tofa had coincidentally gone in search of the stolen animals.

He said the vigilantes were enraged when they saw the stolen cattle and killed at least 20 traders in the village.

“Immediately they sighted some cows, they became wild, saying they were the stolen animals and wanted to know who had brought them to the market,” he said.

“They were shown three Fulani people who claimed to be the owners of the animals; they killed them and reclaimed their cows.”

Another indigene of the area identified as Alhaji said all efforts to get security agents to come to their aid were frustrated.

“We have begged the government and security agents to come to our rescue, but up to this moment there are no security personnel in the whole area,” he said.

The Federal Government had banned mining activities in the Zamfara to curb the spate of banditry.

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We will remodel danfo buses, not scrap them – Sanwo-Olu

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Lagos State Government will not scrap the yellow buses popularly known as ‘danfo’, but remodel them to meet modern standards, the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said.

He stated this when he featured on a Channels Television programme on Sunday.

Sanwo-Olu said it would not be fair to scrap the ‘danfo’, adding that they had served Lagos residents for a long time.

He said, “It will be unfair for us. These (their operators) are important stakeholders. They served our citizens. They served Lagosians for a long time. It became the print of Lagos, the yellow buses.

“Let’s be very creative. Let’s see how we can remodel them without scrapping them. We are collaborating with them. You know that our citizens now deserve newer models of cars.”

The governor also said the state had signed an agreement with a local bus manufacturing company to replace buses burnt during the #EndSARS protest.

He said although the buses were insured, the insurance did not cover such “unforeseen circumstances”.

Sanwo-Olu said, “We are trying to replenish them, we have started the compensation and the interesting thing is that we are working with a local bus manufacturing company.

“And it is going to come almost with the same specifications of the ones that were unfortunately destroyed so that Lagosians can have the same feel of the buses. They were insured. Insurance will never cover you 100 per cent.”

Speaking on transportation in the state, Sanwo-Olu said a mega city like Lagos should not make use of one mode of transportation, adding that his administration was working towards exploring other options.

He said, “One-third of Lagos is water. That is natural. It will be unfair on us not to utilise that opportunity. Lagos in terms of area is also even below the sea level.

“About 33 per cent of our landmass is water. We need to create that infrastructure. The infrastructure for water is terminal.”

The governor also spoke on the construction of light rail in the state, saying the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the federal level did not back the project when it was initiated.

The governor said his administration was determined to construct the red and blue light rail lines across the state.

He said, “Lagos was not with the Federal Government at that time so the PDP government never gave Lagos the right of way from the red line now which is from Oyingbo, Ebute Meta all the way to Agbado, which was where we all grew up, that rail corridor.

 “When I was in the BRF’s government, we never actually started the red line then. It was the blue line that we started in 2010. If we step back then, you remember we have always had that rail corridor.

“So the Federal Government never gave us that opportunity to be able to do the red line then. So it is just now that we are doing the red line.”

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