Nigeria to receive 16 million doses of vaccines from COVAX this Month

Lagos, the Nigerian state that has been worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic has given approval for what its governor has described as a ‘short clinical trial’ to ascertain the efficacy of Ivermectin in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 infection.

This, as announced by the Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in a statement on Sunday comes amid divergent views on the efficiency of Ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19 in infected humans. While some research studies have indicated its potential usefulness in COVID-19 treatment, some infectious disease experts have said the usefulness of the anti-parasitic medicine in humans may be vague.

In defence of the position taken by his State, Sanwo-Olu said, “The State Government is aware of numerous international claims that the broad spectrum anti-parasitic agent/medication Ivermectin has shown some efficacy in acting as sustained prophylaxis in containing/inhibiting the causative virus in SARS CoV-2.

“While this medication has not yet been approved for the broad treatment of the Coronavirus disease, the State Government has however taken the bold step of ensuring we have adequate stocks of Ivermectin, which will be initially deployed in a short clinical trial to ascertain its efficiency in our population to prevent and treat COVID-19 infection.”

In a research work published in June 2020, a team of experts from the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and the Immunity and the Biomedicine Discovery Institute at Monash University, Clayton, both in Victoria, Australia reported that Ivermectin, which is approved by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as anti-parasitic had previously shown to have broad-spectrum anti-viral activity in vitro. They also found that it is an inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19 causative virus.

They, however, added a proviso, which is that Ivermectin should be subjected to further investigation to ascertain possible benefits in humans.

Meanwhile, Federal Government of Nigeria has announced that country will receive 16 million doses of the AstraZeneca version of COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX facility before the end of February.

The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, who made this announcement during the joint national briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 on Monday said this supply is to replace the initial 100,000 doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech approved vaccines earlier expected in the country, saying it is grossly inadequate.

The Lagos State Government has said it is also working towards making enough oxygen available to patients and preparing to take delivery and safe keeping of its part of the awaited COVID-19 vaccine.

“Sanwo-Olu said when the COVID-19 vaccines are finally delivered to Lagos in the coming days, distribution priorities would be accorded to frontline workers, persons with co-morbidities, essential workers, and the elderly who are within the age bracket of 50 to over 65 years,” the Governor said.

“The Government will keep the integrity of the vaccines intact along the entire supply and distribution chain, while also ensuring approved dosages are complied with.

“The state will follow up on possible post-vaccination adverse event; the monitoring strategy will be diligently followed in line with protocols of pharmaceutical public safety,” he added.

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