The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has warned Nigerians against getting vaccinated with fake COVID-19 vaccine, and to ensure that the AstraZeneca vaccine administered on them has the original label.
The Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, issued the warning in a statement on Sunday, explaining that the original Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine had been contracted to Serum Institute of India to produce in mass quantity.
According to the NAFDAC boss, AZOU gave the license of its vaccine to Serum Institute of India PVT Ltd (SIIPL) to manufacture at commercial scale.
“SIIPL is the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world and the company got the license by signing the manufacturing agreement.
“SIIPL gave the vaccine the trade name COVISHIELD. It is the result of cooperation and technology transfer from AstraZeneca–University of Oxford to SIIPL.
“SIIPL is now the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by number of doses produced and sold globally.
“It produces more than 1.5 billion doses, which include polio vaccine, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Hib, BCG, hepatitis B, measles, mumps and rubella. ”
Adeyeye explained that COVISHIELD, which is manufactured by SIIPL; and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, manufactured by AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine are the same vaccine.
She further said the vaccines manufactured by SIIPL are accredited by the World Health Organisation and are being used in about 170 countries for national immunisation programmes.
Adeyeye disclosed that ChAdOx1 nCoV- 19 coronavirus vaccine (recombinant) and COVISHIELD were granted emergency use listing by the WHO on February 15, and that they are among the listed vaccines under the COVAX facility.
COVAX is a scheme co-led by the WHO, Gavi, the vaccine alliance, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, CEPI.
It aims at distributing enough doses to vaccinate up to 27 percent of the population in the poorest participating economies by the end of the year, with at least 1.3 billion doses.
Several African countries have received batches of vaccines from the scheme and have commenced national vaccination programmes.
Recall that earlier this month, NAFDAC issued a similar warning for Nigerians to be wary of fake COVID-19 vaccines.
It also warned the populace to refrain from procuring vaccine online to avoid falling into wrong hands of unscrupulous merchants.
“The public must be on the lookout for these spurious and counterfeit vaccines and other regulated products,” she warned.
In February, the agency, through a statement, raised alarm over reports of fake COVID-19 vaccines in Nigeria.
NAFDAC denied receiving any application from COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, and that it had yet to approve any vaccine.
“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.
“There are reports of fake vaccines in Nigeria. NAFDAC is pleading with the public to beware.
“No COVID vaccines have been approved by NAFDAC. Fake vaccines can cause COVID-like illnesses or other serious diseases that could kill.
“Vaccines should not be ordered by any company or corporation. The companies that manufacture the vaccines, if they are genuine companies, know they have to submit their application to NAFDAC.
“No government establishment or agencies should order COVID-19 vaccines without confirming from NAFDAC if the vaccine has been approved,” NAFDAC warned.
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