Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has said that 14 COVID-19 herbal medicines have now been listed for use in country.
Speaking to journalists yesterday shortly after she received a jab of the Astrazeneca vaccine at the NAFDAC headquarters in Abuja, the Director General of the agency, Prof. Adeyeye said the agency conducted diligent study on the vaccine and confirmed that it’s safe and efficacious for use against COVID-19.
Adeyeye who said that Nigeria will be getting more supply of Astrazeneca from Russian soon, also spoke on the fate of many herbal medicines submitted to NAFDAC by traditional medicine practitioners.
She said the agency has approved 14 of them for listing.
She explained that having scaled the listing hurdle, the affected herbal medicines will now proceed to the next of clinical trials.
“We have approved about 14 COVID-19 herbal medicine for listing, meaning they are now safe for consumption but how efficacious they are is when they undergo clinical trials. The government has arranged for research and development scheme and we have a number of herbal medicines that are going to be used for clinical trials. But I will not be surprised if we herbal medicine that has anti-viral against COVID-19,” she said.
Speaking on the agency’s acclerated approval of Astrazeneca vaccine, NAFDAC D DG said that from the record of the clinical trials conducted by the manufacturers and the analysis done by the agency, it’s benefits outweigh the side effects.
As regards concerns about the side-effects, she said only few persons showed some allergy after taking the Astrazeneca vaccine.
She however said that it is advisable that anyone who gets the vaccine jab should wait for 45 minutes for doctors’ observation before leaving the clinic.
Adeyeye said that from all indications, Astrazeneca vaccine is generally safe for use.
Speaking on the Johnson and Johnson vaccines, Adeyeye said that COVID-19 vaccine is scarce at the moment due to the fact that rich countries have ordered for most of the available doses.
“For Johnson and Johnson, we don’t have the doses yet. I believe that we will do soon. But generally, there is difficulty in accessing COVID-19 vaccine mainly because the rich countries have paid up for it in billions of dollars. “So, they are the ones getting the vaccines now. If we get the doses, we will study it but we are not likely to get it until the second and third quarter of this year,” she said.
She explained that both Astrazeneca and Johnson and Johnson vaccines have same level of efficacy but that the only difference is that Astrazeneca is two doses per individual while Johnson and Johnson is only one shot.
“We are expecting other vaccinnes, such as the Russian and Pfyzer Biotech vaccines. We may not a lot of the Pfyzer Biotech but as for Astrazeneca and the Russian vaccine we expect to get enough,” she said.