An Abuja based Civil Society Organisation (CSO), Coalition of Civil Society Network for HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (CoCSNAN) says local production of COVID-19 vaccine is paramount in eradicating fears of conspiracy theories.
Mr Ikenna Nwakamma, First Co-chairman of the Network, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday.
Nwakamma said such a step would also create jobs for the country’s teeming population of virologists, biologists, biochemists, immunologists and biomedical scientists.
“By the way, just look at how much money will be leaving Nigeria through procurement of vaccines.
“That money should provide jobs for our large unemployed biologists, immunologist, biochemist, virologists and other biomedical scientists that are at home with no place for them in the Nigerian system.
“Nigeria should immediately start COVID-19 vaccine production.
“We will eradicate the narrative that the vaccine is used as a bio-weapon of mass destruction by using our own product.
“When people throw these theories, some may want to sound politically correct but those fears are justifiable.
“This is a national security issue; no country should risk exposing her citizens to products they do not have 100 per cent control on,’’ he said.
The health advocate explained that the management and storage of the vaccine was of high-risk factor and not the vaccine itself.
He, however, urged government at all levels to set up the right infrastructure for vaccine quality management.
Nwakamma, who expressed shock at the country’s alleged unpreparedness for COVID-19 vaccine storage, said that it was enough reason to lose confidence in Nigeria’s health system.
He, therefore, called for the government’s continuous engagement with the public and the stakeholders to restore people’s confidence in the vaccination.
Nwakamma affirmed that there was abundant information on COVID-19 and called for more regimen that had been used to successfully cure the pandemic.
“This is important because, with a high surge, it might become necessary for some people, who are positive and stable, to manage their infections at home to reduce the load in health facilities for a critical case,’’ he said.
He reiterated the need for local production of COVID-19 vaccine, which he said, “is key in preventing vaccine resistance likely to be exhibited by Nigerians.