4. The NCDC and partners, with leadership from the Federal Ministry of Health and Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 is putting in place measures to strengthen the public health response to the pandemic.

The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, has dismissed reports that COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips and alter human genetic information.

Dr Shuaib gave the assurance at the Monday briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

While encouraging Nigerians to take the vaccines once its available in the country, Dr Shuaib said it will not only protect Nigerians, the vaccines would trigger an immune response that will protect the body against the virus if encountered.

‘We encourage all Nigerians to get vaccinated when vaccines become accessible as the benefits of the vaccines far outweighs the potential side effects,’ Dr Shuaib said.

‘The chances of spreading the disease is significantly reduced once community members are vaccinated and protected, owing to the fact that the vaccines triggers an immune response that will protect your body against the virus if encountered.

‘Please note that taking the vaccine will not only protect you, it will protect your love ones and community members the against the COVID-19 disease as we worked towards developing health immunity.

‘There currently seems to be growing vaccines hesitancy and this is largely caused by misinformation leading to mistrust, doubts, suspicions and conspiracy theories. We urged the public to disregard such representation from unverified sources and listen to the medical experts for confirmed information.

‘It is important to note that vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, are are manufactured under strict compliance with WHO guidelines, therefore, COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any harmful substance, micro chip and does not alter human genetic information.

‘Further more, any vaccine coming to Nigeria will be tested by NAFDAC and certified safe for human use before it is administered. We will like to assure all Nigerians that this verification exercise will also be applicable to the COVID-19 vaccine and NAFDAC will continue to monitor the efficacy of the vaccine even after its administration to ensure proper documentation of any side effects.

“I want to reiterate that the first set of vaccine is that of Pfizer-Biotech and nRA vaccines and the equipment that are required to store them – that is the ultra-cold chain equipment for storage are available at the National Strategic Cold Store of National Primary Health Care Development Agency.

‘I will invite members of the press to go and take a look at the National Strategic Cold Store along Airport Road, those equipment are available. We have over 2,100 liters capacity. The requirement for the 100,000 doses of Pfizer vaccines that will be available by the end of January/February is 500 liters, so we have enough capacity for the 100,000 doses.

‘I make particular reference to those reports that claimed that we are going to waste the 100,000 doses because we do not have any ultra cold chain equipment.

‘Pfizer has also informed us that the COVID-19 vaccine can be stored for five days at plus two to eight degrees outside of ultra cold chain, which is suitable especially at low level. This means that the ultra cold chain storage is only required at the national level and six zonal stores where the vaccines can be stored for longer period, the vaccines then will be transferred to lower levels using dry ices in isolated dry thermals when they are ready to be deployed.

‘I want to emphasis that the PTF, ministry of health intend to invest too heavily in the ultra cold chain equipment because of the logistical challenges. We already have thousands of refrigerators and freezers that we use for our routine immunisation vaccines available all over Nigeria. So we will to looking to prioritise to store those vaccines that are plus two and plus eight degrees Celsius, it’s just makes sense.’

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