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Categories of people who shouldn’t take COVID-19 vaccine, according to experts

An associate professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos, Dr. Arinola Joda, says infants and children below 16 years of age were exempted from being inoculated with COVID-19 vaccine because they were not involved in the clinical trials.

She said that as clinical trials did not involve children, the possible effect of vaccine on them is currently unknown.

This is just as a renowned professor of virology and former Vice-Chancellor of the Redeemer’s University Nigeria, Oyewole Tomori, declared that nobody is sure how the vaccine may react on the foetus.

Joda debunked the claim that the trials focused only on privileged few.

“It is not a matter of privilege. Adults are much more susceptible to the virus. Children have been so far spared and this can be seen from various studies carried out.

“The proportion of children affected is small. It therefore makes sense that the focus should not be on children when carrying out clinical trials. It is expedient not to expose them to the vaccines at this time.

“However, I am aware that one of the vaccine-producing companies is currently running a trial that involves children. When the results are ready, they will be able to update the guidance,” she said.

According to her, if global vaccination is achieved, the world can expect some level of herd immunity which would help to protect susceptible people that have not been vaccinated.

Continuing, the clinical pharmacist disclosed that only two COVID-19 vaccines – Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are currently authorized for prevention of the virus.

“The​​​Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires two injections given 21 days apart and is targeted at people aged 16 and above. Moderna vaccine, on the other hand, is for people age 18 and older. It requires two injections given 28 days apart.

“As access to the vaccines for much of the developing country is not assured to happen soon even as the developed world that can afford it are not yet getting sufficient quantities of the vaccines themselves, I don’t see the vaccine going round till about three to five years,” she said.

Speaking in the same vein, renowned professor of virology and former Vice-Chancellor of the Redeemer’s University Nigeria, Oyewole Tomori, also said that children and pregnant women were exempted from the trial based on the spectrum of the virus.

“It is hard to tell how they will react, hence the need to look at the spectrum of the infection – those who are affected and age groups. On the strength of that, children and pregnant women are not usually included.

“It is only when it works in other age groups that we can subsequently begin to look at them. We have to be very careful because the virus is something new and we don’t know what may happen,” he said.

The virologist emphasised that when big epidemic occurs like in the case of yellow fever vaccine, many people would turn up for vaccination. Some of these people would also include those who are pregnant without knowing.

He noted that they only get to know about such case long after the women are vaccinated.

“We always want to take extra precaution to be sure the foetus is not affected. The same applies to the children.

“Children’s immunity cannot outweigh that of the adult. We want to see how such vaccine behaves first in adult. It is only when you get a good response that you can proceed to the next age group.

“But, of course, if it is a childhood disease like measles, you have to go through that age group.

“But the severity of the disease among the different age groups determines where you choose to run your test. That is the basis for it,” he stressed.



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