A Professor of Medical Virology and expert reviewer on COVID-19, Prof Marcycelin Baba, has said giving extra doses of the COVID-19 vaccine may prevent the deaths of fully vaccinated Nigerians living with underlying conditions.
Baba said this while expressing support for the World Health Organisation on its latest vaccination advisory.
The global health body on Monday had recommended that people with a weaker immune system may be offered an additional dose of authorised COVID-19 vaccine.
The UN health agency’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation also said people over-60s who have been fully immunised with China’s Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccine should be offered an additional third COVID-19 vaccine dose.
“SAGE recommended that moderately and severely immunocompromised persons should be offered an additional dose of all WHO EUL (emergency use listing) Covid-19 vaccines as part of an extended primary series.
“These individuals are less likely to respond adequately to vaccination following a standard primary vaccine series and are at high risk of severe Covid-19 disease,” the group had said.
Baba, however, explained to our correspondent that people tagged immunodeficient were people living with underlying conditions.
She said “People who are immunodeficient are people with underlying conditions. The thing with viruses is that when they attack the system, they kill off the immunity the body has to fight against other diseases.
“So, when people like that take the vaccine, their body can’t fight enough and the underlying condition in their body weakens the vaccine thereby making the vaccine ineffective.
“Then, most of these individuals are on drugs, people with diabetes, liver problems, cancer. So, the drugs they take kill the cells in their body so the normal two vaccine doses are not enough to protect them and that’s why you hear that fully vaccinated individuals are dying. No, they are most likely not dying from just COVID-19 but because the viruses in their body have weakened the jabs they took.
“Now to the solution, in Nigeria today we do not have laboratories to test the immunodeficiency status of people. Before people are allowed to take the vaccine, they should be asked if they have underlying conditions because most of those recording side effects are people with underlying conditions and the thing is that they don’t even know.
“Now there is something we call Mantel test, people can be advised to take this test. It will show you if you have been exposed to a virus that can fight against the presence of the vaccine in your system.
“So, I also believe that if extra jabs are given, it may reduce the deaths of fully vaccinated individuals who have underlying conditions