The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has urged Nigerians to confirm that the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine administered on them has the original label.
The advice was given in a statement signed by Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General of NAFDAC, on Saturday.
According to the agency, the advice became pertinent to ensure that people did not risk being vaccinated with the fake AstraZeneca vaccine following the mass production of the medication.
NAFDAC explained that the original Oxford AstraZeneca University (AZOU) vaccine had been contracted to Serum Institute of India (SIIPL), the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world, to produce in large quantity.
The statement read: “AZOU gave the license of its vaccine to Serum Institute of India PVT Ltd (SIIPL) to manufacture this vaccine at a commercial scale. SIIPL is the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world and the company got the license by signing the manufacturing agreement.
“SIIPL gave the vaccine the trade name COVISHIELD, it is the result of a cooperation and a technology transfer from AstraZeneca – University of Oxford to SIIPL.
“SIIPL is now the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by number of doses produced and sold globally.
“More than 1.5 billion doses, which include Polio vaccine, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Hib, BCG, r-Hepatitis B, Measles, Mumps and Rubella.”
Adeyeye added that the vaccines manufactured by SIIPL were accredited by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and are being used in about 170 countries in their national immunisation programme.
The NAFDAC boss said both COVISHIELD manufactured by SIIPL and COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca manufactured by AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine are the same vaccine.
According to Adeyeye, ChAdOx1 nCoV- 19 corona virus vaccines (Recombinant), COVISHIELD, were granted emergency use listing (EUL) by the World Health Organisation on February 15, and that it was one of the listed vaccines under the COVAX facility.
Nigeria had on 2 March received 3.92 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from COVAX, an initiative set up by the United Nations, World Health Organisation (WHO), Gavi and other development partners in a bid to make available the vaccine to low and middle-income countries.
The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine began on 5 March with frontline health workers in Abuja — the same day the safety of the vaccine was certified by NAFDAC.