Home News Nigeria in talks with WHO to secure Monkeypox vaccines NPHCDA

Nigeria in talks with WHO to secure Monkeypox vaccines NPHCDA

by Haruna Gimba

By Iyemah David

As global health leaders investigate an unusual outbreak of monkeypox across more than a dozen countries, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), says it’s in discussion with the World Health Organisation (WHO), and to secure Monkeypox vaccines in the country.

Dr Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director, NPHCDA, said this on Tuesday during the official flagged off of the National COVID-19 vaccination exercise in accredited community pharmacies, in collaboration with the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, & the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria.

The European Commission is going ahead with the centralised purchase of an antiviral drug and a vaccine to be deployed against monkeypox, according to people familiar with the matter, as cases of the disease continue to climb and nations race to place orders.

The contracts, expected to be finalised as early as next week, would be for US drugmaker Siga Technologies’ antiviral tecovirimat, or Tpoxx, and for Danish group Bavarian Nordic’s smallpox vaccine Imvanex.

Monkeypox, which causes fever and skin lesions but usually clears up without treatment, has in recent weeks been detected outside west and central Africa, where it is endemic.

The smallpox vaccine is up to 85 per cent effective in preventing a monkeypox infection, according to the WHO, due to similarities in the pathogens.

Shuaib said that apart from the WHO, the country was also speaking with the United States of America, and another relevant International partner to ensure that the country has a vaccine for monkeypox

He said that while the discussion on vaccines was ongoing, he cautioned that anyone could be at risk of contracting the virus. Children, pregnant women and the immunocompromised were considered particularly at risk.

“Monkeypox can also be transmitted via surfaces and materials, so it’s wise to avoid touching materials that have been in contact with a sick human or animal.

“This is a virus that is super stable outside the human host, so it can live on objects like blankets and things like that. Good practice would be to regularly wash clothing and bedsheets at high temperature,” he advised.

Speaking on the flag off, the NPHCDA boss said that Nigeria, through the Agency, the Federal Ministry of Health and the Presidential steering committee launched the S.C.A.L.E.S 2.0 as one of the national strategies for COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

He said that as part of this initiative that the agency was officially launching this collaboration with the Association of community pharmacists of Nigeria.

He affirmed that the synergy would once again enhance the COVID-19 vaccination programme and help the country achieve herd immunity while strengthening the health care system and contributing to health security.

The NPHCDA stressed that Nigerians accessing the community pharmacist for any of the COVID-19 vaccines do not have to pay for the services because all COVID-19 in the country were free.

Nigeria have vaccinated 30,327,550 persons with the first dose, this represents 23.9 per cent of its eligible population while 14,629,451 persons have received their second dose and 18,291,072 have been fully vaccinated which represents 16.4 per cent of its eligible population.

Meanwhile, 1,229,909 persons have received their booster doses. However, the collaboration is a plausible direction to take if country must reach its national targets within the shortest time possible.

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