The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says it has received assurance from the Serum Institute of India that Nigeria will receive the R21/Matric-M malaria vaccine “first”.
The vaccine developed by the University of Oxford is being manufactured and scaled up by Serum Institute of India.
The Director General, National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, during the commemoration of World Malaria Day on Tuesday, noted that the agency had granted the R21 malaria vaccine provisional approval.
On how soon the doses would be available in the country, she stated that “one of the things that the Serum Institute of India contact said is that Nigeria will get a donation first, as quickly as possible.”
According to her, within NAFDAC’s purview is ensuring that the product is “safe, of quality, and is efficacious”.
She further said NAFDAC’s Joint Vaccine Review Committee recognised the importance of effective malaria vaccine, disclosing that the R21 vaccine has 75 percent protection.
In a separate event to mark World Malaria Day, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Enahire, cited the effectiveness of the vaccine the reason for NAFDAC granting provisional approval.
The minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Mahmuda Mamman, said, “I think it is because of the effectiveness of the vaccine, that is why the regulator, NAFDAC, has given provisional approval.
“Based on that, we are anticipating that Nigeria is also going to be in the phase four clinical trials of the vaccine.”
Although it is preventable, the 2021 WHO report reveals that it accounts for 619,000 globally with Africa responsible for 95 percent of all reported cases.
Children under five years old account for about 80 percent of global deaths.
The report also indicates that five African countries, namely Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger and Tanzania accounted for over 50 percent of global malaria deaths in 2021.
The Federal Government called for an urgent scale-up of interventions for the eradication of malaria in Nigeria.
The Director, Public Health, Federal Ministry of Health, Morenike Alex-Okoh, said, “The recent World Malaria Report calls for a reupping of efforts by all to ensure increased access to malaria interventions by all Nigerians,” she said.
Over the years, the government interventions have focused on prevention and control of the disease with minimal results as shown by the 2021 Nigeria Malaria Indicator Survey, which shows the prevalence rate dropped from 23 percent in 2018 to 22 percent in 2021.
According to the National Centre for Biotechnology Information Report, Nigeria still records an estimated 51 million cases of malaria and 207,000 deaths annually.
However, the recent malaria vaccine that is still in its clinical trial phase could be the good news that Nigerians have been waiting for.
SOURCE: Channels TV