Covid-19: Nigeria should focus on indigenous vaccine development –NMA President

NMA President, Prof. Innocent Ujah

Nigeria should focus on developing indigenous Covid-19 vaccine and forget waiting for hand-out from developed nations, the President of Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) Prof. Innocent Ujah has said.

Ujah who frowned at Covid-19 nationalism being embraced by many developed nations of the world, says that poorer nations must help themselves in the face of vaccine inequality


Ujah in an interview in Abuja recently tasked poor African countries like Nigeria to look inward in the face of the global vaccine inequalities between rich western countries and poor third world countries.


Recall that the United States recently rejected a WHO proposal to halt its planned booster dose for its citizen until poorer nations are substantially vaccinated.


Speaking further, Ujah noted that the proposal by the WHO was laudable as it was designed to curb vaccine inequality and protect poorer nations from richer nations who are hoarding vaccines.

His words, “Some western nations now have the capacity to vaccinate their citizens three times over while others don’t even have a single dose.

“However poor nations should find a way to help themselves rather than waiting for freebies from developed nations”.

On the recent donation of four million doses of Moderna vaccines to Nigeria by the US instead of the promised 100 million doses, he stated that the US does not owe Nigeria any obligation.

“They don’t owe us anything, they are a country and we are a country so they do not owe Nigeria anything.

“The reason is that by now we should not be talking about US giving us vaccine. We should be working with other like mind nations to develop capacity to produce our own vaccines, why don’t we invest in research, in trials, in vaccine productions.

“We keep on saying US will give us, why should they, actually If I were president of the US, I will not give.  It is better to give someone hook to fish than to be given the fish.

“Therefore my own view about this is that we should not be waiting for handouts, it means we can’t develop, we should be able to take the hook, we start small and then we grow.

“You know Rome was not built in a day, but we are not doing anything but just stay and be waiting for America.

Speaking on the outbreak of the third wave of Covid-19 with the presence of the Delta variant in Nigeria, Professor Ujah advised the government of Nigeria to be more stringent especially at ports of entry and the application of non pharmaceutical intervention in checking the spread  of the disease.


“The issue of third wave we must be prepared for everything because we don’t even know the epidemiological characteristics of COVID. Now what Nigeria did and I hope it is properly implemented is the banning of air flight from Turkey, Brazil and India because those are the areas we should watch out for, the ports.

“They must ensure they check everybody that comes in because the commitment of Nigerians does not measure to the Government policy. Everybody must comply to the policy either big man or small man, if they don’t comply they should be detained.

That’s the one way to curtail the spread of the disease. When Covid-19 started they ask the borders to be closed to limit the number of people coming in. That policy wasn’t handled well and now you know what happened” he said.