The Academy of Medicine Specialties of Nigeria has commended Lagos State Government regulatory protocols to mitigate the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic, recommending that similar guidelines be observed nationwide.

Prof. Oladapo Ashiru, Chairman, Scientific Committee of the Academy, said this in a statement on Monday in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Lagos State Government on Dec.16 re-issued guidelines that concerts, carnivals and street parties were banned in the state till further notice.

It also directed that all places of worship should have not more than 50 per cent of their capacity, while civil servants on Grade Level 14 downward should work from home.

Ashiru said the academy supported the public health measures and strategies to combat COVID-19 spread, noting that protecting the health and wellbeing of patients, health care professionals, and the public was important.

“Ongoing public health measures such as distancing, masking, hand hygiene, and appropriate personal protective equipment for healthcare personnel are critical in minimising spread of existing COVID-19 infection and protecting healthcare providers around the globe.

“The United Kingdom has reported a more virulent new wave of COVID-19 that spreads rapidly.

“Vaccination is the key to prevention of new infections,” he said.

Ashiru recalled that the UK government and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorised the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in the UK and US.

“The Moderna vaccine has also been approved for emergency use in the U.S; Russia and China also have their own vaccine as there are many candidate vaccines being developed all over the world.

“In other countries across the world, regulatory bodies have also endorsed the vaccine, and similar processes will be followed globally to evaluate each upcoming candidate vaccine.

“We await the arrival of a vaccine in Nigeria that will  be suitable for our climate.

“It is our collective opinion, after closely monitoring this situation, that the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination far outweigh the risks,” he said.

Ashiru said the academy endorsed vaccination for all eligible health care workers, patients, and all citizens, including populations who were disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 or complications from the disease, in consultation with their physicians.

According to him, it is important that certain eligible patient populations, including pregnant women, consult with their trusted physicians when considering whether to take the vaccine.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, various medical bodies urged that pregnant and lactating people be included in the vaccine trials and research; unfortunately, they were not.

“While a conversation with a clinician may be helpful and is encouraged, it should not be required prior to vaccination as this may cause unnecessary barriers to access,” he said.

Ashiru stressed that the academy supported additional data collection and research to inform recommendations for these populations.

He added that as vaccination became available, the academy believed that preventing the spread of existing COVID-19 infections and widespread vaccination was essential to controlling the pandemic and saving lives. (NAN)

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