Nigerian-American researcher and medical doctor, Onyema Ogbuagu, says the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine “will be the final nail in the coffin” for the virus that has killed over a 1.6million people worldwide.
Ogbuagu disclosed this on Saturday, at a virtual series on the theme, ‘COVID-19: Vaccine, Hesitancy, Myths and Reality’, organized by Nigeria in Diaspora Commission, NiDCOM, in partnership with Ngex.
He also dismissed concerns that the vaccine would alter deoxyribonucleic acid, DNA.
“Specifically, for COVID-19 vaccines, I think that one of the concerns has been about the accelerated process or timelines. I want to flag vaccine hesitancy as a serious threat for us.
The punch line I would say is that thinking about COVID-19, the vaccine would be one of the approaches that really host the greatest promise.
Speaking on the acceleration given to the production of the vaccine, Ogbuagu attributed the success to teamwork.
“The studies have been accelerated, which is appropriate because of the time that we are in. The fact that it is a global pandemic makes it quite significant, so everybody worked together,” he said.
On why attention and research are focused on COVID-19 and not malaria, Ogbuagbu said COVID-19 has had a wider negative impact on humans and the economy within a short period.
He, however, emphasized the need for African leaders to position themselves to address the health challenges affecting the continent.
A starting point, he said should include, developing and supporting scientists, building research infrastructure, and creating enabling environments.
Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19, Sani Aliyu, in his response to questions on the federal government’s preparation for the vaccine, said adequate plans are in place to get it to Nigerians when it gets to the country.
“There is a lot of work that is currently ongoing on the government side. The minister has set up an expert advisory group,” he said.
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