The Federal Government has approved Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine.
The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) said NAFDAC had approved Sinopharm BBIBP-CorV COVID-19 vaccine, to step up efforts to battle a third wave of infections in the country.
The Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, said this on Tuesday, in Abuja, at the National Vaccines briefing.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that BBIBP-CorV, also known as the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine or BIBP vaccine, is one of two inactivated virus COVID-19 vaccines.
He said it was developed by Sinopharm’s Beijing Institute of Biological Products “sometimes written as Beijing Bio-Institute of Biological Products,” resulting in the two different acronyms BBIBP and BIBP, for the same vaccine.
“It completed phase 3 trials in Argentina, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru and United Arab Emirate (UAE), with over 60,000 participants. BBIBP-CorV shares, similar technology with CoronaVac and Covaxin, other inactivated virus vaccines for COVID-19.
“Its product name is SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine ‘Vero Cell’ not to be confused with the similar product name of CoronaVac,” said Shauib.
He added that the approval was recently granted by NAFDAC and the vaccine had also received the World Health Organisation (WHO) certification.
The NPHCDA boss said, “NAFDAC has approved Sinopharm vaccine, the approval was done three days ago; and yes, Sinopharm vaccine has also received WHO certification.
“So, it is a potential vaccine that we could use.
“There are so many vaccines out there, but one thing that we are very clear about is that we are not going to use all the available vaccines in Nigeria.
“At some point, we are going to draw a line in terms of the number of vaccines we would use, so that we can keep a close watch on the number of vaccines we are utilising in Nigeria,” he said.
NAN also reports that the Moderna vaccines donated by the United State of America, to step-up efforts to battle a third wave of infections in the country had been deployed to 29 States.
The 29 states, out of the 36 states of the federation and the FCT, were said to be prepared to receive the vaccines.
According to NPHCDA, “Readiness here means that the states’ ultra-cold chain equipment are fully functional and able to store the vaccines at the required temperatures.
“Also, the states must have back-up storage facilities such as Walk-in cold room, Walk-in freezer or chest freezers with reliable 24-hr power supply.
“Additionally, the 29 states had trained their health care workers who will monitor the equipment and the vaccines, which was one the immunisation requirement by states to access the vaccines.
“The agency is also calling on the 29 governors to continue to provide the needed oversight and resources, to ensure that the vaccines are secured and maintained in the required temperatures.
“And that all eligible persons are mobilised to access the vaccines to protect themselves, their families and their communities against COVID-19,” Shuaib said. (NAN)