Dr Solomon Chollom, spokesman, Plateau Inter-professional Health Committee on COVID-19 Response, has called for transparency in vaccine development and outcomes of clinical trials.
Chollom, a virologist, spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja on the side-line of the 2021 World Immunisation Week.
Celebration of the 2021 World Immunisation Week, which has “Vaccines Bring Us Closer’’, as its theme, began on April 24 and would end on April 30.
Key stakeholders in vaccine research, production, administration and marketing set the week aside annually to review progress and challenges bordering on vaccines, vaccination and immunisation to increase vaccine access through advocacy.
Chollom said vaccine trials must cover population groups and climes and get the buy-in of recipients to reduce hesitancy and resistance
“This year’s celebration focuses on the Covid-19 pandemic and how safety protocols like quarantine, isolation, social distancing and lockdown had kept us apart.
“To restore and resume normal life and living, safe and effective vaccines must be introduced to bring us closer to one another since vaccines protect us and eradicate diseases.
“Eradication of the pandemic through immunisation is achievable.
“Our memory is fresh on how vaccines played key roles in rolling back pandemics like bubonic plague, influenza, small pox and most recently, polio, to mention a few,’’ he said.
The virologist enjoined all stakeholders to look deeper and objectively at feedbacks generated by vaccines introduction and administration, especially with the COVID-19 vaccine.
He said every concern raised must be scientifically investigated and stakeholders must meticulously address the concerns as public perception and confidence on vaccines hangs on a delicate balance.
The concerns, he said, could be those bordering on safety or efficacy or availability.
Chollom stressed the need for effective and strategic communication to precede the introduction of new vaccines to keep the public enlightened and well-informed.
He noted that such communications must be based on verifiable data that addressed safety and efficacy to scale down the possibility of negative build-up against vaccine introduction.
“Health professionals must be ahead of the times in research and development to ensure that the world does not get caught in another round of pandemic that cripple economies and disrupt human activities,’’ he emphasised.
The United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said on its website last Saturday that a year ago, there were 26 dangerous diseases for which there were safe and effective vaccines to prevent and control.