By Prof. Ray Ozolua
● Most vaccines that are used in sub-Saharan Africa are from Europe and America. Africa has never had the capacity to manufacture them to meet her needs.
● Poisoning needs not come with anti-Covid-19 vaccines. It could be from yellow fever, polio, cerebrospinal meningitis, measles, and other vaccines if there was a plot to harm Africa.
● Those who think the anti-Covid-19 vaccines are to harm Africa should also realize that hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin D, ivermectin and whatever else is used in the chemotherapy of Covid-19 are largely from the Western world. The drugs could have been laced with chemicals to kill Africans. Testing of imported medicines is still poor in most of Africa. The intention to harm should not be narrowed to vaccines only.
● Although there exist competent scientists in Africa, they are handicapped by lack of funds and basic amenities that drive research. Even when there are breakthroughs, there are hardly funds and will power to use them for the common good.
● Bill Gates and his wife have through their foundations been solving health and socioeconomic problems for resource-poor countries in Africa. It is irreconcilable that a couple that spends so much money to sustain life in Africa will spend money again through a single vaccine to kill Africans.
● mRNA vaccines work to help the body synthesize coronavirus-like proteins against which the body then mobilizes antibodies. The increased titre of antibodies will then help to fight the virus in the event of an infection. Theoretically, autoimmune adverse effects may be expected.
● The anti-Covid-19 vaccines must have been adjudged to be reasonably safe for use.
● Drug approval is often hastened in epidemics/pandemics. It is nothing new. It is a question of risk-benefit analysis. The fear and anxiety over the health and socioeconomic impacts of Covid-19 have led to the quick development of vaccines.
● Research into anti-coronavirus vaccines started before Covid-19, perhaps with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus. It was revived when Covid-19 emerged. That explains why the vaccines have been quick in coming. This is aside from the truism in “necessity being the mother of inventions”.
● Adverse effects monitoring is a never-ending process for any medicine. It is a post-marketing surveillance process (pharmacovigilance) on the medicine. Keep in mind that it took several decades of use before aspirin was associated with Reye’s syndrome. So, we might never know all we need to about any medicine, these controversial vaccines inclusive.
● It is difficult to imagine that all the Black scientists involved in the development of the vaccines are cooperating with their Caucasian counterparts to harm Africans.
● Certain medicines may be donated to Africa and poor regions. Their prices may also be reduced and these medicines are marked “Not to be sold/used in…..”. This practice that is currently for Remdesivir is a pricing policy and it is not new.
● Until Africans do thorough introspection, they will continue to depend on the Western World. A man that cannot help himself must be ready to be subjected to anything by his helper. So, regardless of the noise being made, Africans will ultimately take the vaccines.
● The points above do not counter the argument that the Western world does deliberately hold Africa down in socioeconomic ways. That debate is for another day.
● African leaders should ensure that like other medicines, the vaccines must meet the irreducible minimum requirements for quality before they are deployed. The tests are prescribed by the appropriate regulatory agency. I have no doubts that NAFDAC will ensure this. My thoughts!
Prof. Ray Ozolua, (Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Benin