The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control on Thursday approved Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for use in Nigeria.
The Director-General of the agency, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, gave the go ahead for the use of the vaccine at a news conference in Abuja.
Adeyeye said the NAFDAC Vaccine Committee commenced expedited review immediately the agency received the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine dossier from Serum Institute of India on February 10.
She explained that members of the committee worked assiduously to review the vaccine as planned, noting that the recommendation for the emergency use authorisation was based on rigorous scientific consideration.
The NAFDAC boss noted that “the vaccine can be stored at two to eight-degree centigrade temperature.
“The active substance is manufactured and controlled by Serum Institute of India Private Limited (SIIPL). A GMP certificate and manufacturing licence issued by the India National Regulatory Authority (NRA) has been presented and found to be authentic and valid.
“The multidose (2 dose or 10 dose) vial is stored at 2 to 8 degree centigrade, one dose (0.5Ml) contains 5 x10) virus particle. On availability stability, the applicant has proposed a drug product shelf life of six months.
“On vaccine safety from the phases two and three conducted, COVISHIELD was found safe and well-tolerated in adults above 18 years of age.”
Adeyeye said the focus was to use holistic approach for effective immunisation, including delivery of the vaccines and monitoring of any adverse effects.
She added that the multi-stakeholders technical working group had been meeting to address different issues, noting that the agency would use its recently launched Med Safety App for Active Pharmacovigilance of the vaccine.
The director general, who added that NAFDAC would collaborate with sister agencies on the task ahead, explained that “the App is free and can be downloaded by healthcare workers to monitor Adverse Drug Reaction.”
She said three additional vaccines were currently undergoing evaluation “but the evaluation on AstraZeneca shows that the vaccine is effective against the UK variant of the virus, which has been reported in Nigeria.”
According to her, the South African variant has not been reported in Nigeria and that the agency has over 30 herbal medicines undergoing review for listing.
Adeyeye said: “The Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, also known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-`9, or AZD1222, is a viral vector vaccine. Scientists used an adenovirus, originally derived from chimpanzees, and modified it with the aim of training the immune system to mount a strong response against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).
“Nigeria is expected to get the first batch of the COVID-19 vaccines by the end of February.