By Nathan Ohiomokhare

The Minister of State for health Dr. Olorunimbe Mamora and the Chairman Presidential Task Force on Covid 19 Mr Boss Mustapha have both advised that Nigerians do not become complacent once they receive their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. They have insisted that safety protocols involving frequent handwashing, use of sanitizers and face masks in public remain in force and will be enforced to the letter.

The government officials have made this assertions in the light of ongoing efforts by the Federal government to acquire the Covid-19 vaccines and initiate distribution nationwide based on a planned strategy. Public health experts have also advised that Vaccines will only facilitate 95% immunity against the prevailing strain of Corona virus and there is still a very small window of opportunity or risk of infection. The government officials have also advised that even though individuals may have been vaccinated and acquired immunity, they could still be carriers and transmit the virus to individuals who are at risk of contracting the disease. Consequently individuals are strongly advised to sustain all safety protocols.

While briefing the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 earlier this month the Minister for Health Dr Osagie Ehanire reported that there was a reduction in case fatalities. He warned Nigerians not to let down their guard even as case fatality rates were reducing.

The current Corona virus pandemic has claimed millions of lives worldwide in the past 2 years and has necessitated what could eventually become the costliest vaccine development effort and biggest vaccination campaign on history.

Many Clinical trials are ongoing world wide both for drug treatment regimens and Vaccines. Drugs are meant for  treatment of already infected individuals exhibiting symptoms of illness while vaccines are meant to prevent the disease by stimulating immunity in individuals whom have been administered the vaccines.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) vaccines work by training the body's immune system (natural defense mechanism) to recognize and fight off antigens like Viruses and Bacteria. The vaccines themselves contain microbial part or whole viruses which have been inactivated. The body is able to keep records of these microbes when exposed to them via vaccines thereby developing a natural defense against them. If infected by the virus, the body would have enough antibodies to combat the Virus and prevent full blown disease. WHO currently recognizes more than 50 Covid-19 vaccine candidates undergoing clinical trials. COVAX is the consortium comprising WHO, GAVI and CEPI that is responsible for ensuring adequate vaccine distribution to nations and prioritizing at risk individuals. Currently the vaccines which have been released require administration of a first dose and then a booster dose 3 weeks later to activate the recipient’s immune system and minimize the risk of infection from the virus.

A vaccinated person may not fall sick if infected but can still transmit the virus to friends, family and close contacts.

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