President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has directed the National Agency for Food and Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to be firm on the protocol for the verification of claims on Covid-19 vaccines for approval and use in Nigeria.
The President of the Senate handed down this directive to the Director General of NAFDAC, Professor, Mojisola Adeyeye during the interactive session with the minister of health and heads of relevant agencies on efforts to secure and administer the Covid-19 vaccines on Nigeria.
Ehanire had led heads of Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and NAFDAC to defend its proposed N150bn to procure and vaccinate 40 per cent of Nigerians in 2021.
Lawan who observed the divergent views on the choice of vaccines for use in Nigeria charged NAFDAC to “make sure any vaccine that does not go through the rigorous review is not approved.”
The President of the Senate went further to demand detailed work-plan of the measures put in place to vaccinate 40 percent of Nigeria in 2021 as the first phase of vaccination and said the Senate will be part of the entire process to ascertain the status of the nation’s preparedness to vaccinate over 87 million Nigerians.
Lawan who enjoined the line agencies to work together going forward maintained that the minister and his team should not be working on anticipatory cheaper vaccines which they are canvassing but go for proven vaccines that would serve the health interest of the people.
Addressing the senate leadership, Adeyeye said NAFDAC had requested for data on the vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and the Russians, while Pfizer has responded with data NAFDAC is yet to receive any from the Russians but the minister of health said he has information from the Russian vaccines.
“Since October, what we made clear to them is that we will not accept any vaccine without enough data. As a regulatory agency, we are joined with other regulatory agencies across the world and we use what is called reliance.
“Meaning when FDA or Vice Canada has approved, just as Moderna and Pfizer, we can look through faster because they have done the work.
“Yesterday, we requested for the approval document for Modena and Pfizer through the international coalition for medicinal authorities.
“They will give that to us because we are not going to say that the FDA has approved it, so it is okay.
“We will look at it between the context of our own clime but depending more on them to make it faster.
“When the Russians came we requested for data. They have not given us. They said the Gamaleya research group will visit us. If they do not give NAFDAC enough proof, we will not approve because our lives depend on it,” she submitted.
She continued, “we challenged the Russian people, have you submitted this for emergency listing by WHO. Anything the WHO does not approve and is not coming from stringent regulatory authorities we will not approve.”
Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege curiously asked: “What did they say?” The NAFDAC DG replied: “They said that they will provide but we have not received any scientific data from them.”
Minister of Health, Ehanire quickly interjected and said “I got some information from them just last Friday, this is an unfolding scenario, you cannot get all information in one day. So, if you interrogate those ones and they are not okay, you ask for more.”
He promised to share same with NAFDAC. This prompted the President of the Senate to query the communicating gap between them.
“Hon. It is like NAFDAC and you are not working together, I asked you a very pointed and relevant question at the beginning, on who supervises NAFDAC and you said it is you. Now NAFDAC has the information you do not have and you have information that NAFDAC doesn’t have. Issues of Covid-19 should be spontaneous.”
Earlier in his presentation for cheaper vaccines, Managing Director, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib said Nigeria can access these vaccines at the rate of $8, though these vaccines are yet ready as that of Phizer.”
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