The Chief Commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Stephen Hahn, has stated that the organization is working to approve Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine.
He revealed on Thursday that Moderna has been informed by the FDA that the approval of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate will be fast-tracked, as it works towards the finalization and issuance of emergency use authorization (EUA).
Considering the record number of new cases which is overwhelming US hospitals and healthcare workers, the EUA is expected as early as late Thursday or Friday, providing another ray of hope to the United States, which has lost more than 300,000 lives to COVID-19.
Earlier on Thursday, a panel of outside advisers to the US Food and Drug Administration overwhelmingly endorsed emergency use of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine, virtually assuring a second option for protecting against COVID-19 for a pandemic-ravaged nation.
The committee voted 20 to 0 with one abstention that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh its risks in people aged 18 and older, one week after the same panel backed a similar vaccine from Pfizer and German partner BioNTech, leading to a EUA a day later.
The one abstention came from Dr Michael Kurilla, who works at the National Institutes of Health and felt blanket authorization for those 18 and older was too broad.
Members of the US Congress will be able to get vaccinated with the distribution of the first tranche of vaccine doses, the congressional physician said on Thursday.
An emergency meeting of a US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel is expected to follow the FDA’s authorization of Moderna’s vaccine, with its official recommendation of its use for the US public.
What they are saying
In a letter to members of Congress and their staff, Dr Brian Monahan, the Attending Physician of the US Congress, said he had been notified by the White House’s National Security Council that:
- “Congress will be provided with a specific number of COVID-19 vaccine doses to meet long-standing requirements for continuity of government operations.”
The Chief Executive of Meharry Medical College, Dr James Hildreth, who voted to recommend the vaccine for emergency use stated that:
- “To go from having a [genetic] sequence of a virus in January to having two vaccines available in December is a remarkable achievement. I’m not convinced that for all of those age groups, the benefits do actually outweigh the risk. And I would prefer to see it more targeted towards people at high risk of serious and life-threatening COVID disease.”
What you should know
- Unlike Pfizer’s vaccine, which comes with complex distribution challenges due to its need to be shipped and stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius, Moderna’s vaccine does not require specialized ultra-cold freezers or vast quantities of dry ice, making it easier to supply to rural and remote areas.
- US officials have said they expect to have 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines by the end of the year, which could be enough to inoculate 20 million people.
- Both vaccines were about 95 per cent effective at preventing illness in pivotal clinical trials with no serious safety issues.
- The first wave of doses will be earmarked for healthcare workers who treat COVID-19 patients and vulnerable residents and staff of nursing homes.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 5th of March 2021, 371 new confirmed cases and 3 deaths were recorded in Nigeria
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 158,042 confirmed cases.
On the 5th of March 2021, 371 new confirmed cases and 3 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.
To date, 158,042 cases have been confirmed, 137,025 cases have been discharged and 1,954 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
A total of 1.54 million tests have been carried out as of March 5th, 2021 compared to 1.49 million tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 5th March 2021,
- Total Number of Cases – 158,042
- Total Number Discharged – 137,025
- Total Deaths – 1,954
- Total Tests Carried out – 1,544,008
According to the NCDC, the 371 new cases are reported from 20 states- Lagos (101), Rivers (54), Anambra (31), Ebonyi (23), Imo (23), Kwara (22), Kano (20), Taraba (17), Akwa Ibom (16), FCT (15), Abia (13), Kaduna (13), Osun (5), Edo (4), Oyo (4), Kebbi (3), Ogun (3), Ekiti (2), Nasarawa (1), and Zamfara (1).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 56,374, followed by Abuja (19,328), Plateau (8,939), Kaduna (8,623), Oyo (6,761), Rivers (6,651), Edo (4,645), Ogun (4,419), Kano (3,830), Ondo (3,066), Kwara (2,953), Delta (2,582), Osun (2,449), Nasarawa (2,248), Enugu (2,078), Katsina (2,060), Gombe (2,010), Ebonyi (1,951), Anambra (1,811), Akwa Ibom (1,588), and Abia (1,568).
Imo State has recorded 1,551 cases, Borno (1,297), Bauchi (1,232), Benue (1,188), Adamawa (942), Niger (917), Taraba (863), Ekiti (825), Bayelsa (779), Sokoto (769), Jigawa (496), Kebbi (401), Cross River (334), Yobe (288), Zamfara (221), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State announced the closed down of the Eti-Osa Isolation Centre, with effect from Friday, 31st July 2020. He also mentioned that the Agidingbi Isolation Centre would also be closed and the patients relocated to a large capacity centre.
Due to the increased number of covid-19 cases in Nigeria, the Nigerian government ordered the reopening of Isolation and treatment centres in the country on Thursday, 10th December 2020.
On 26th January 2021, the Federal Government announced the extension of the guidelines of phase 3 of the eased lockdown by one month following the rising cases of the coronavirus disease in the country and the expiration of phase 3 of the eased lockdown.
On 28th February 2021, the federal government confirmed that the first tranche of Covid-19 vaccines will arrive in Nigeria on Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021.
COVID-19: Dr Cyprian Ngon is first Nigerian to receive vaccine
Dr Cyprian Ngon has made history by becoming the first Nigeria to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria.
Dr Cyprian Ngon has made history by becoming the first Nigeria to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria.
Dr Ngon led the first set of health workers including Nurse Faith E. Eragbai, Dr. Nuru Joseph and Dr. Thairu Yunusa to receive the vaccine at the flag-off ceremony for COVID-19 vaccination in Nigeria, which held on Friday, March 5, 2021 at the National Hospital Abuja.
Speaking in a television interview, Ngong expressed his excitement about getting vaccinated. He said, “You can see, I just took the vaccine now and I feel good. I dreamt of taking this vaccine and I have taken it today.”
Ngong who disclosed that his father died from the virus, also mentioned that he has lost a number of colleagues who were at the forefront of the fight, to the pandemic.
“We’ve been at the forefront of the COVID-19 fight here in the National Hospital at our isolation centre under the able leadership of the National Hospital.
“They’ve provided everything we need for this fight. We’ve lost some, won some and we are happy we are getting the vaccine now in Nigeria. I think that is about the best news we’ve had since.
“I only wished my dad had had that vaccine months ago. We lost him, but we thank God. The fight is still on and we’ll win,” he said.
Meet the first set of health care workers to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine in Nigeria — Dr. Ngong Cyprian, Nurse Faith E. Eragbai, Dr. Nuru Joseph and Dr. Thairu Yunusa.
— NPHCDA (@NphcdaNG) March 5, 2021
Present at the ceremony were a host of dignitaries including; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, Director-General of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib.
Since the emergence of news of the discovery of vaccines, there have been calls for doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers to be considered top priority for COVID-19 vaccines because of their crucial jobs and high risk of exposure to the coronavirus.
In case you missed it
- The first batch of the COVAX Astrazeneca/Oxford vaccines arrived in Nigeria on Tuesday, March 2021 via the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
- Nairametrics reported that the Federal Government announced the President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo will receive shots of AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccines on Saturday to demonstrate vaccine safety to the public.
- Last month during a PTF COVID-19 briefing Dr Faisal revealed plans by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to vaccinate 109 million Nigerians in 2 years.
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