By Christiana Babayo

The Executive Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, has recently discouraged the use of the Covid 19 vaccine in the country. In his words, “…they want to use the covid-19 vaccines to introduce the disease that will kill you and us” and the impact of the comment on Nigerians cannot be ignored as he is a person a lot of people have great regard for.

This comment came at the time when the Nigerian government has released 10bn to support domestic vaccine production and also revealed that it is expecting at least 100,000 doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech approved Covid19 vaccines by the end of January 2021.

On a global scale, nine vaccines have been authorized by at least one national regulatory authority for public use and as of January 14th 2021, 32.64 million doses of Covid 19 vaccine had been administered worldwide based on official reports from National Health Agencies.

In Nigeria however, the numbers are still on the rise as NCDC reports that as of the 19th of January 2021, there were 1301 new cases and 15 deaths recorded. The global figure counts in millions and still there are controversies here and there concerning the vaccine and treatment.

It can be recalled that in 2020, former President, Donald Trump of the United States of America stirred the hornets’ nest when he descended on the World Health Organization, by announcing that, his country will withdraw the funding of the organization if it did not come up with a workable policy on the treatment of Covid-19. President Trump also accused the WHO for complexity in the pandemic, alleging that it is covering up china concerning the outbreak of the pandemic and also for their failure to make the requested and greatly needed reforms.

President Trump and the WHO also disagreed on the treatment formula of the virus. When Trump recommended hydrochroloquine as the treatment solution, WHO said the drug has side effects and therefore dangerous for human consumption. Finding a cure or vaccine to the pandemic seems to be taking longer than the world imagined it would and the world is becoming impatient. Even the treatment measures on ground have controversies surrounding them.

Some people in Nigeria have even resorted to the traditional means of keeping themselves healthy or preventing the virus, like bathing with salt water, using herbs and other traditional remedies. This does not look good for the wellbeing of people.

There was an ongoing clinical trial in 2020 organized by the World Health Organization and other bodies called the “Solidarity’, which aims at finding a cure to the pandemic. The treatment is meant to compare four different treatment options and assess their relative effectiveness against covid19.  The treatment options are, Remdesivir, Lopinavir/Ritonavir, Lopinavir/Ritonavir with interferon beta-1a and finally hydroxychloroquine. Through this, they can be able to discover whether any of the drugs slow disease progression or improve survival. The good news is that while randomized clinical trial will take years to design, the solidarity trial will reduce the time taken by 80%.

In Nigeria, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), insist that it will continue to apply the hydroxychloroquine as Clinical trials in Nigeria. Speaking to newsmen in Abuja, the Director of the agency, Mrs Adeyeye, said there are proven records that hydroxychloroquine has been effective in the treatment of COVID-19 patients. “There is data to prove that hydroxychloroquine worked for many COVID-19 patients…“Therefore, we would continue our own clinical trials in Nigeria.” The Director-General said.

During this second wave, the former vaccine may not be suitable as experts have said that the second wave will be more severe than the first wave and we can already see it with the rising figures.

The Director General of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebrehesus decried the inequity in global vaccine distribution. He said that it is not right that young and healthy people in wealthy countries should receive vaccinations before older people and healthcare workers in poorer countries. He went further to say that just 25 doses have been given in one lowest income country. He described the situation as catastrophic moral failure.

Meanwhile as the WHO continues to procrastinate on the treatment pattern of the pandemic, which is roundly described as fighting and unseen enemy, the casualty rate keeps depleting world population and crumbling the economies of many nations.





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