As Nigeria gets ready for delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, scheduled for this month end according to the Federal Government, experts have proferred warning concerning public attitude to the vaccines.
The United States Centres for Disease Control warn that when a vaccine requires two doses, patients must submit to the two doses within the specified timeframe.
“The first dosage helps your body to recognise the virus and gets your immune system ready, while the second injection strengthens that immune response. This makes your body more prepared to fight the infection,” CDC says in its advisory.
A former consultant to the World Health Organisation, Prof. Oyewole Tomori, warned that the COVID-19 vaccine is not the solution to the viral infection and that vaccination does not protect anyone from exposure and infection.
“The likelihood is that you will develop immunity but then, that immunity does not protect you from exposure, it does not protect you from infection. What the vaccination does is to prevent your infection from becoming a disease.
“Your vaccine will not protect you from exposure; if you don’t wear your mask and you go out because you are vaccinated, it does not mean that you won’t be exposed to somebody who is sneezing and carrying it around,” he said.
The virologist noted that the vaccine must be seen as an addition to other measures in mitigating the viral infection.
“The guarantee is that you are protected but supposing you are not and even when you are protected if you get exposed to the virus, it will grow in your body, that is the infection but it will not progress to disease because you have the vaccine.
“Vaccine is not the solution; it’s just an addition to the things we said we should be doing- wear your mask, wash your hands, and maintain your distance,” Tomori said.
Speaking about the vaccines and the dosages, the UK government-owned Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency reported 80 percent success rate for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine when two full doses are administered three months apart.
“The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine guarantees 89 percent protection from two weeks after the first dose,” the agency said; adding, “the initial dose of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine offers as much as 70 per cent protection against the effects of the virus.”
Moderna says its vaccine was 80 percent protective after one dose, with efficacy peaking two weeks after the first vaccination.
Experts, however, warn that so far, there is no long-term evidence that any of the vaccines will offer lasting immunity based on just one dose, or how effective they will be if the second dose is delayed.
Indeed, BioNTech and Pfizer have warned that they could not guarantee that their vaccine would continue to be effective if the second dose is given more than 21 days after the first.
Experts urge the use of the vaccines in conditions exactly matching those of their trials as much as possible in real life situation.
So far, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency says the Federal Government is targeting administering the COVID-19 vaccine on 40 percent of Nigerians during the first batch this year, pointing out that 30 per cent are expected to be vaccinated in 2022.
The agency also said the Federal Government was also sourcing for vaccines from other countries like Russia.
It said the rate of infection in each state is the criterion to be used for the distribution.
Considering that the vaccines will not go round every Nigerian citizen in the next two years or thereabouts, experts however warn that the vaccines are not to be rationed.
Experts at the UnitedStates Food and Drug Administration saywhoever receives the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines must get the two full doses if they must benefit maximally.