Professor of Virology, Oyewale Tomori, has disclosed that it is medically not advisable for pregnant women and lactating mothers to receive Covid vaccines.
Prof Tomori, who is the Chairman, Expert Review Committee on COVID-19, stated this on Friday in a video posted on Twitter by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
He also confirmed the development when contacted by The PUNCH, adding that the clinical trials done to ascertain the efficacy and reaction of the vaccines in circulation now were not carried out on pregnant and nursing mothers.
Amongst globally known Covid vaccines brands are Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford–AstraZeneca, Moderna and Sputnik V. According to the don:
“For now, we don’t have any evidence for that because the trials that were done did not include pregnant women and lactating mothers. So, we cannot tell you how it is going to react in them.
“However, if we go by the past, I will give you an example, in 1985, ’86, around that time, we had this huge epidemic of yellow fever in Nigeria and we vaccinated everybody.
“At that time, inadvertently, a lot of pregnant women were also against that virus but then, we followed them up for three, four years and there was nothing untoward that happened to them.
“So, ideally, there shouldn’t be any reason why we should have that but then, you are taking precaution, until you test it, you cannot be sure of what is going to happen.
“In dealing with pregnant women, ordinarily, when there is no epidemic, you don’t want to give it to them because you don’t know what is going to happen to the fetus. But in an epidemic, when the mother is also exposed to that disease, and she gets sick and she dies, the fetus will also die, and therefore you give a vaccine during a raging epidemic to the women in the hope that even if the baby does not survive, the mother will at least survive.”
There have been talks about Covid vaccines in Nigeria with the Federal Government saying it expects to receive 100,000 doses of Covid vaccines anytime soon.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, had in December informed the Senate that Nigeria would require over N400bn to vaccinate 70 per cent of Nigeria’s population at $8 per vaccine.
But American philanthropist and Microsoft Co-founder, Bill Gates, said Nigeria does not need to spend too much on acquiring Covid vaccines but should rather focus more on revitalising the weak and underfunded health sector, especially the primary health care centres.