Gov Lalong receives COVID-19 vaccine, tasks NAFDAC on approval of homegrown remedy

Plateau State Governor, Simon Bako Lalong has received the COVID-19 vaccine and called on National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to give approval to the submission by the Plateau State COVID-19 Medical Research Team, so that Nigeria can have a homegrown remedy for containing the pandemic.

It would be recalled that Plateau State COVID-19 Medical Research Team led by Prof Noel Wannang recently disclosed that his team has concluded the first phase of the work, which is the pre-clinical stage with “tremendous success,” and the team is at the next stage which is the clinical stage where the samples will be tested on human beings for further processing.

The Governor who made the call shortly after he was vaccinated, along with other prominent citizens of the state on Monday in Jos said the commencement of the administration of the first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine was clear progress in tackling the disease in the State.

Governor Lalong said he was the first to take the vaccine in the State to serve as an example and to reassure the citizens that there was nothing to fear about the vaccine, adding that the conspiracy theories being propagated by some people particularly in the social media were aimed at discouraging people from accepting the vaccines.

“Although this is almost a common pattern associated with the introduction of many vaccines in history, there is yet to be any scientific evidence of foul play on the COVID-19 vaccines being introduced. It is important to note that the vaccine had been approved by the European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organization based on global clinical trials involving 23,000 participants.

“In addition, Nigerian regulators such as NAFDAC evaluated the vaccines upon arrival in the country. All of these evaluations have concluded that the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective.”

“That is why as a Government, we have to work hard on the issue of sensitization and awareness among our people to ensure that the rumours and unsubstantiated conspiracy theories do not gain ground,” he said.

He pointed out that no one will be compelled to take the vaccine as the administration was totally voluntary and reminded the citizens that the law criminalizing the denial of COVID-19 in Plateau State is still in force adding that those who want to engage in spreading conspiracy theories and mobilizing others against taking the vaccine will not be allowed.

Governor Lalong further stated that there was no evidence to suggest any adverse effect on those that have taken it particularly in Nigeria and therefore urged the citizens of the state to adhere to the advice of medical experts who are managing the process.

“Taking the vaccine should not be a licence to abandoning the protocols such as wearing facemasks, observing social distancing and keeping to hygiene practices. We should not increase the risk.
More so, when the vaccine supply to cover the entire population will come gradually and not at once. We have to continue to keep ourselves safe and also safeguard others,” he said.

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