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Nigeria should conduct its own clinical trials of COVID -19 vaccines before administering them on patients, doctors have advised.
The doctors, under the aegis of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) , argued that “our biology, environment and genetic composition” make such trials necessary.
Although they stated they were not doubting the efficacy of the vaccines, the doctors pointed out their concern has to do with the short period the drugs were produced.
They however explained that the trials would equip health personnel with necessary information when asked questions by patients or their relations.
NMA President Innocent Ujah, recalled during a television interview yesterday, that when Nigeria was using Chloroquine, certain parts of the country were not responding to it.
He said: “The truth of the matter is that vaccines are not new. We give vaccines for yellow fever and other preventable communicable diseases. We have just eradicated polio, and this is as a result of the vaccination of our people. Obviously, people will ask questions, but what we need to do is to provide them with answers because of the level of ignorance that we face in our community.
“Unfortunately, when you are getting people to understand the rationale, there are some other people who are very quick to go underground to say don’t take this. This was what happened in the days of polio.
“In 2003, I am aware that even those who are educated and should know said that people should not take polio immunisation. But I’m happy that polio has been eradicated from Nigeria.
“The issue is that people will continue to have questions and they have the right to get the answers. So it is a continuous process, people should be given the right information so that they can respond appropriately.
“What I have always said before, and what I’m saying now is that when the vaccines come to Nigeria, we need to quickly do our own evaluation. I cannot say with 100 percent certainty that in the process of developing these vaccines, on the clinical trials whether any African country was involved. I am not too sure.
“But it is possible. If not, because of biology, our environment and our genetic composition, we need to do our own clinical trials very quickly before they can be used on Nigerians.
“While we do not question the efficacy and safety, these things vary from place to place and the response varies from place to place.
“Recall that when we were using Chloroquine, certain parts of the country were not responding to it. But in totality, it was thought that Chloroquine was no longer effective and we changed.
“What I am saying in effect is that if we have to use vaccines, we need to do our own quick clinical trial because everything that is happening now is an emergency.
“Even the vaccines that are being produced within nine months are in an emergency situation. Vaccine production does not take place within six to nine months, and it is a process from phase 1, 2, 3 and then phase 4 – which is the marketing.
“Therefore, if we are saying we could do this as an emergency, then, when it is imported, we should also do our own clinical trials to first establish the efficacy and effectiveness, and also to look at any area that probably our people are not favourably disposed to.”
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