The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria says at least seven pharmacists have died after being infected with COVID-19 within a week.
Speaking in an interview with PUNCH HealthWise, PSN President, Sam Ohuabunwa, said the deceased pharmacists were involved in managing COVID-19 patients and providing pharmaceutical care to Nigerians.
He, however, said pharmacists should get priority access to the COVID-19 vaccine when it arrives in the country.
“Pharmacists are at the frontline. This week, I’ve lost more than seven pharmacists who were on the frontline and some who were also in the secondary line, but they were all involved in managing patients and providing pharmaceutical care to Nigerians who made pharmacy their first point of call when they had any illness or symptom before going to the hospital or being referred to the hospital.
“So, pharmacists should be among those that should be given priority to receive the vaccine. Health workers, those with comorbidities, and the aged also should be given priorities.”
According to Ohuabunwa, there are not less than 25 pharmacists that had died from complications arising from coronavirus since the first case of the virus was reported in the country.
He added that no fewer than 350 pharmacists had been infected with the virus.
“Some contract it in line with the job they do, some just caught it from the community. It’s becoming a frightening thing.
“Those (pharmacists) in the hospital today who are ill or recovering will not be less than 50. I have not been as alarmed as I am regarding this COVID-19; it is taking a new dimension,” he said.
The PSN president who said the COVID-19 second wave was deadlier than the first, advised Nigerians to adhere to the precautionary measures of curbing the virus.
“This second wave is much more deadly, more infectious, more lethal than the previous one. People are virtually dropping now and that is the time we are most relaxed and complacent.
“So, Nigerians should take the warning seriously, it’s real. We don’t want to frighten people but it has come to the time that we must sound the alarm that COVID-19 is invading Nigeria,” he said.
Ohuabunwa said the daily record of COVID-19 cases does not reflect the total number of infected persons in the country.
“Not up to half of what is going on is being reported, both the number of infections and the number of deaths.
“The reason is that people are taking care of themselves, they are not being taken care of properly by the government.
“Many people are not comfortable with government provisions, so when they go through the normal government protocols, they don’t get the kind of response they want and so, they just go to the private hospitals and take care of themselves, that is what I can find in the community. That is why the reporting is low.
“I know somebody who feared he had COVID-19, he did a private test and he was negative but he was still feeling unwell and went and did the official one but two weeks passed and there was no response, so he’s asking himself if he’s waiting for the government, would he not have been dead? So, people are helping themselves,” he said.
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