By Abujah Racheal
Dr Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), has dismissed speculations that the expected COVID-19 vaccines in the country contained microchips and would alter human genetic information.
Shuaib gave the assurance on Monday in Abuja at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 national briefing.
While encouraging Nigerians to take the vaccines once available, he said it would not only protect people but would trigger an immune response that would protect the body against the virus, if encountered.
“We encourage all Nigerians to get vaccinated when vaccines become accessible as the benefits of the vaccines far outweighs the potential side effects.
“The chances of spreading the disease is significantly reduced once community members are vaccinated and protected, owing to the fact that the vaccines trigger an immune response that will protect your body against the virus if encountered.
“Please note that taking the vaccine will not only protect you, it will protect your loved ones and community members against the COVID-19 disease as we work toward developing health immunity.
“There currently seems to be growing vaccines hesitancy and this is largely caused by misinformation leading to mistrust, doubts, suspicions and conspiracy theories.
“We urge the public to disregard such representation from unverified sources and listen to the medical experts for confirmed information,” he advised.
He said it was important to note that vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, were manufactured under strict compliance with World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, therefore COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any harmful substance, microchip and does not altar human genetic information.
“Furthermore, any vaccine coming to Nigeria will be tested by NAFDAC and certified safe for human use before it is administered.
“We will like to assure all Nigerians that this verification exercise will also be applicable to the COVID-19 vaccine and NAFDAC will continue to monitor the efficacy of the vaccine even after its administration to ensure proper documentation of any side effect.
“I want to reiterate that the first set of vaccine is that of Pfizer-Biotech and nRA vaccines and the equipment that are required to store them – that is the ultra-cold chain equipment for storage are available at the National Strategic Cold Store of NPHCDA.
“I will invite members of the media to go and take a look at the National Strategic Cold Store along Airport Road, those equipment are available.
“We have over 2,100 liters capacity. The requirement for the 100,000 doses of Pfizer vaccines that will be available by the end of January/February is 500 liters, so we have enough capacity for the 100,000 doses.
“I make particular reference to those reports that claimed that we are going to waste the 100,000 doses because we do not have any ultra cold chain equipment.
“Pfizer has also informed us that the COVID-19 vaccine can be stored for five days at plus two to eight degrees outside of ultra cold chain, which is suitable especially at low level.
“This means that the ultra cold chain storage is only required at the national level and six zonal stores where the vaccines can be stored for longer period, the vaccines then will be transferred to lower levels using dry ices in isolated dry thermals when they are ready to be deployed.
“I want to emphasis that the PTF, Ministry of Health intend to invest too heavily in the ultra cold chain equipment because of the logistical challenges.
“We already have thousands of refrigerators and freezers that we use for our routine immunisation vaccines available all over Nigeria. So we will prioritise the storage for those vaccines that are plus two and plus eight degrees Celsius,” he said. (NAN)