NAFDAC To Monitor Vaccines Distribution, Adverse Reactions With Digital Technology

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Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has said it would be deploying GS1 technology to monitor the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to guard against diversion as well as prevent fake vaccines from infiltrating the supply chain.

GS1 technology are standards, services and solutions designed to improve the efficiency, safety and visibility of supply chains across physical and digital channels across a wide variety of sectors.

Using Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), NAFDAC, Nigeria’s food and drug regulator hopes to create a reliable and predictable supply chain that would ensure efficient delivery of the COVID vaccines when they arrive the country.

This, as disclosed by the Agency is sequel to Thursday’s announcement of approval it has granted for the use of COVISHIELD, a COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by AstraZeneca in Nigeria.

NAFDAC’s Director General, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye disclosed that the agency will also be promoting the use of its recently launched Med Safety App for Active Pharmacovigilance of the vaccines in collaboration with sister agencies.

According to the DG, in-country training on the use of the free App has begun for the healthcare givers, adding that it would be available for millions of healthcare workers to download free for Adverse Drug Reaction (ADR) reporting.

“Safety of the vaccine is premium to NAFDAC and a lot of efforts are being put into this regulatory function,” Prof Adeyeye said.

Giving further details on this collaboration, she said, “The Agency initiated multi-stakeholder collaboration with National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), UNICEF, GAVI, WHO and Nigeria’s Ministry of Health.

“The focus is to use a holistic approach for the effective immunization or delivery of the vaccines and monitor any Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI).  The multi-stakeholder technical working groups have been meeting to address different issues, from access to distribution to traceability (track and trace) of the vaccines, to monitoring of adverse events following immunization.”

Meanwhile, NAFDAC is on the Regulators Steering Committee of African Union -3S (Smart, Safety Surveillance) with Ghana, South Africa and Ethiopia formed as a preparatory caucus for safety monitoring of medicines using COVID-19 vaccine as a pilot.

In 2010, NAFDAC deployed the Mobile Authentication Service (MAS) scheme as one of the anti-counterfeiting strategies to detect substandard and falsified (SF) medical products. The scheme which uses scratch codes and Short Messaging Service (SMS) has empowered consumers to verify the authenticity of medicines at the point of purchase while also providing product owners the capacity to monitor supply chains.