Thursday, 25 February 2021 04:31

COVID-19: Nigeria Can’t Produce Vaccines Without Pharmacy Bill – PSN

The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) on Wednes­day lamented that even with the availability of funds and facilities, Nigeria could not produce vaccines due to the non-passage of the Pharmacy Bill into law.

Announcing this at a press conference on the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in Lagos, the President of the Society, Pharm Sam Ohuabunwa, said without the passage of the Pharmacy Bill, the World Health Organisation cannot approve Nigeria’s production of vaccines and medicines which could be exported to other parts of the world.

Ohuabunwa said: “Beyond the fact that we do not have the facility to produce, even if we put out all the facility to pro­duce the vaccines, without the Pharmacy Bill being passed, the WHO will not grant us the authority to produce the vac­cines.

“It is like a tweak to the production of vaccines in the country.

“It has happened before, maybe before the WHO put out some exigencies in their protocols to make sure that every vaccine production pro­cess and safety proof is intact.

“As at today, Nigeria can­not produce vaccines without passing the Pharmacy Bill which is gathering dust at the National Assembly.

“So, if the media doesn’t want another pandemic to catch you unawares and start propounding theories of who wants to depopulate Africa, then please ask the govern­ment where the Pharmacy Bill is.

“If the Pharmacy Bill is passed into law today, I can bet you that we would give the gov­ernment a proposal that will make Nigeria produce vac­cines in less than 15 months.

“We have the science and technological know-how as well as the industrial know-how.

“So, that is the challenge, the issue of infrastructure and poor funding is second­ary. So let the Pharmacy Bill be passed.”

When passed into law, the Pharmacy Bill would im­prove all aspects of the pro­fession and help develop the country’s capacity to produce World Health Organisation (WHO)-certified facilities, medicines, and vaccines, es­pecially for COVID-19, he said.

The PSN boss further called for caution in the use of Iver­mectin in the treatment of COVID-19.

Ohuabunwa, who dis­missed various conspiracy theories against the vaccines, urged Nigerians to accept the vaccines when they become available.

However, he said that given the scientific evidence avail­able at their disposal as well as professional competences in the science and technology of vaccine formulation protocol, that COVID-19 vaccines were safe for Nigerians.

“With our avowed respon­sibility to diligently nest med­ication safety of Nigerians, we make bold to say that the vaccines are safe and should be accepted when they become available to us.

“Vaccination has remained a veritable tool for disease pre­vention, control and possible elimination.”

Represented by the Nation­al Publicity Secretary, Pharm. Ijeoma Okey-Ewurum, he pointed out that vaccination should be seen as public health good and should be delivered to all nooks and crannies of Nigeria.

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