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Vaccines produced now not best for Africa —Expert warns

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A scientific researcher at the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) Professor Richard Adegbola, has warned that he does not think that the vaccines currently available in Africa are the best for the people of the continent”, as none of them has been evaluated in the continent.

Adegbola, who is also an elected member of the Sabin Vaccine Institute Board of Directors in Washington D.C., stated this at a meeting on the implementation strategy on COVID-19 vaccine development held at NIMR in Lagos on Friday.

According to the professor, nobody will take a vaccine in the U.S. or UK that has not been evaluated in their setting, noting that a vaccine that has high efficacy in the UK may not have a high efficacy in Africa.

He maintained that producing a vaccine in our settings would help to evaluate the efficacy of such a vaccine on the people of the continent.

“I don’t think the vaccines available now are the best for Africans because none of them has been evaluated here.

“Nobody will take a vaccine in the U.S. or UK that has not been evaluated in their settings and a vaccine that has a high efficacy in the UK may or may not have high efficacy here in Africa,” he said.

Also, he noted that Africa produced only one per cent of vaccination being used in the continent.

Meanwhile, Adegbola called for the prioritisation of safety as a key element in vaccine development.

READ ALSO: Nigerian govt confirms withdrawal of expired COVID-19 vaccines from stock

He explained that vaccine production is different from when drugs or chemicals are being produced, noting that safety is very crucial.

He stressed that in making a vaccine that would protect people from disease, safety should be considered to prevent the researchers from getting something that is toxic or erectogenic in the process.

“Come out with a roadmap on what can be done within short-term, mid-term and also strategies on the long-term.

“Vaccination should also be put into consideration because there is no point making a vaccine that will not get to the people who need to be vaccinated and that is why vaccine does not protect but vaccination does,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the initiative, funded by the Federal Government through TETFund, is engaging both health and educational institutions to fast-track COVID-19 vaccine development in Nigeria.

The institutions involved are the Usman DanFodiyo University, Sokoto, National Veterinary Research Institute, Vom near Jos, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Lagos, National Research Institute for Chemical Technology, Zaria and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Jos.

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