Friday, September 24, 2021

COVID-19: NPHCDA inspects 4m doses of Moderna vaccines donated by U.S. govt

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The National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, on Monday inspected the four million and eighty (4,000,080) Moderna vaccines doses donated by the U.S.  of America, to steps up efforts to battle a third wave of infections.

Speaking while inspecting the vaccines at the National Strategic Cold Store, the Executive Director, NPHCDA, Faisal Shuaib, said effective cold chain management of any COVID-19 vaccine is key to ensuring the success of the national vaccination programme.

Taking newsmen on a tour, Faisal, said Nigeria can store COVID-19 vaccines, including the Moderna vaccine.

He disclosed that the Nigeria Government had earlier acquired an additional 60 ultra-cold freezers that would accommodate both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

He further said the store has a combined capacity of 2100 litres and operates at a temperature of -85°C.

“The Moderna vaccine was expected to remain stable at standard refrigerator temperatures of 2° to 8°C (36° to 46°F) for 30 days.

“Shipping and long-term storage conditions are at standard freezer temperatures of -20°C (-4°F) for six months while mRNA-1273 to be distributed using widely available vaccine delivery and storage infrastructure.

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“Once the vaccine is removed from the refrigerator for administration, it can be kept at room temperature conditions for up to 12 hours,” explained.

The NPHCDA boss said that the vaccine await efficacy test evaluation by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, (NAFDAC), noting that it would take 48-hours for the evaluation results to be out before inoculation.

Also speaking, the U.S. government representative, Melissa Freeman said that the vaccine doses  was part of a donation that was set to boost the country’s vaccination rollout campaign.

Dr Freeman said that the urgently needed help came as amid growing concern about vaccination rates in Africa, which lag far behind those of advanced economies.

Also, the World Health Organisation, WHO, representative, Anne Baptiste, said that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was effective against several variants of concern, including the delta variant.

Dr Baptiste added that the Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine shows a promise to protect against other COVID-19 impact including hospitalisation.

Also speaking, Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Nigeria Representative said the donation would contribute to the country’s expanded vaccination programme, which was fast gaining momentum to reach more people.

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Mr Hawkins said these life-saving vaccines arrived at a time when the country gears to vaccinate a total of 110 million Nigerians.

U.S. President Joe Biden in June, announced a donation of 500 million doses of vaccine to the world’s poorest countries to help speed the pandemic’s end, with “no strings attached”.

The vaccines are being brought in through COVAX, the international aid initiative that seeks to ensure global access to vaccines.

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The U.S. government shipped nearly 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to two of the most populous African countries – Nigeria and South Africa – as the continent battles the third wave of infections.

The initiative is part of the collaboration between the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT), COVAX, and the U.S. government, with the African Union Member States set to receive about 25 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to enhance coverage across the continent, and vaccinate at least 60 per cent of the African population.

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According to reports, the doses, which arrived on two planes on Sunday, at about 2:15 am of Aug. 1, 2021, were received by UNICEF officials on behalf of Nigeria at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The delivery was the second batch of vaccines to arrive in Nigeria after four million doses were delivered in March under the COVAX vaccine sharing Facility.

COVAX was set up to ensure the equitable distribution of vaccines, particularly to low-income countries, and has already delivered more than 80 million doses to 129 territories.

Nigeria has since exhausted the four million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to kick off its nationwide inoculation programme.

The Moderna vaccine received on Sunday, is the mRNA type of vaccine manufactured and developed by Moderna, NIAID.

Two shots of the vaccine are administered through intramuscular injection, 28 days apart.

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The Moderna vaccine has been listed for emergency use by the WHO to be safe and effective based on data from large-scale clinical trials.

NAN

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