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This file illustration taken on November 23, 2020 in Paris shows a vial reading "Vaccine Covid-19" and a syringe next to the Pfizer and Biontech logos.

Despite mounting concern over the second wave of Covid-19, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has warned it is not comfortable with the administration of any vaccine in the country without local clinical trials. 

While the Pfizer vaccine was found to be 95 per cent effective in clinical trials and is currently being administered in the US, the doctors insist these trials are germane because the biology, environment and genetics of Nigerians is different from that of people who were tested. 

“The vaccine must be subjected to another clinical trial on Nigerians so that we can appropriately document its efficacy and safety on Nigerians. It doesn’t matter if it is 100 per cent efficacious in the US and Europe,”  NMA president, Prof Innocent Ujah, said yesterday.

NMA has made public its position at a time when the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 (PTF) decised to reactivate Covid-19 Protocols Enforcement Task Team to stop its violation. 

The National Coordinator of PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu, said the meeting was necessitated by the spike in Covid-19 cases and the need for aggressive enforcement of health guidelines that would come with clear penalties. 

He insisted that mass gatherings should be restricted to not more than 50 persons, preferably outdoors, and there must be wearing of facemasks.  

He said PTF only recommended that restaurants should be allowed to operate outdoors, but lamented that all restaurants have opened indoors. 

“This has to be enforced; they can provide takeaways, otherwise, they should close for the Christmas period because it is a period that attracts people for mass gathering. Our aim is to stop the super spider event over the next six weeks.’’ 

Agreeing on acceptable control measures, including the use of vaccines, Prof Ujah said he was more worried that many Nigerians had not been complying with the Covid-19 safety protocols. 

He appealed to Nigerians to take advisories seriously in order to stem the virus transmission.

Meanwhile, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has reported that new infections have brought the country’s total to 73,374 confirmed cases and 1,197 deaths. 

It said it registered 201 new infections as at December 14, 2020 and that the country had conducted about 848,194 tests since the first confirmed case in March. 

It issued a warning over possible community transmission of the virus with the expected mass return of Nigerians from the diaspora ahead of the festive season.

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