PROFESSOR Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), says the agency is working with international partners to ensure Nigeria gets vaccines with long expiration date.
Adeyeye spoke against the backdrop of the one million doses of vaccines that expired in November and were destroyed by NAFDAC and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and the Abuja Environmental Protection Agency.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 1,066,214 doses of expired AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines were destroyed at the Gosa Dumping site in Abuja.
Adeyeye told NAN on Wednesday in Lagos State that the expired vaccines had very short expiration dates which made it impossible to be administered in time due to logistics reasons.
She said, “When developed countries started using vaccine for many months, we didn’t have access to them until we started receiving donations, not just through COVAX alone but from some countries also.
“The expiration date was shorter than what it was supposed to be and between the time we tested and started using it, there was not enough time and that was the only reason, not because we were careless.
“But going forward, we are working with international partners to ensure the expiration dates of any vaccine we will be receiving are up to five or six months.”
On the new Omicron variant of COVID-19, Adeyeye said that studies on the variants were still ongoing globally.
She advised Nigerians to continue to adhere to the safety measures given by the various health authorities to further curb the spread of the virus.
“A lot is still not known about Omicron because studies are still going on globally about the variant.
“The only way to keep safe is to continue with the usage of mask, maintain social distancing, wash our hands regularly and avoid crowded areas to stay safe,” she said.
She also warned Nigerians against patronising hawkers of herbal concoctions because the medicines lacked storage standards.
The NAFDAC boss said that any drug being hawked on the streets or in buses should be avoided because of the uncertainty of the source.
“For the liquid herbal concoctions, especially after four or five days, it starts growing bacteria.
“Even if the herbal concoction has some medicinal properties, the bacteria will first kill the person that is taking it,” she said.
Adeyeye, however, said some of the herbal medicines work, but consumers must ensure that they have passed NAFDAC’s safety and efficacy tests.
The director-general also cautioned against the use of performance-enhancing drugs saying, “Many men have died using performance-enhancing drugs because if they use them and they have heart problems or have ‘X’ type of ailment, it can easily kill,” she said.
Adeyeye said the agency would continue to use a multifaceted approach it adopted, including strengthening of the pharmaceutical industries, to ensure that the citizenry were protected from fake, substandard or contaminated foods and drugs.