By Prince Pieray Odor
Recently, the federal government issued an order that from December 1, 2021, all federal employees must present evidence of taking COVID-19 vaccines shots or negative COVID-19 test (PCR) result—valid for only seventy two hours!—as a condition for accessing their offices. In this piece, I will examine the rational and moral issues in this order.
I begin from the premise that Nigerians were told that genetically modified foods (GM foods) are safe while this is false. Nigerians have been told that the vaccine which will be injected into them is safe and will provide them immunisation against COVID-19. It is based on this statement that millions of healthy Nigerians freely and confidently submitted to vaccination. More Nigerians are likely to accept the vaccines because of the orders of the federal and state government. It is noted that just as no independent safety study was carried out on any GM food, no independent safety and efficacy (immunisation) study has been carried out on any COVID-19 vaccine. Therefore, the concern of Nigerians about the safety of the vaccines is rational, moral, and right.
Consequent on these, the question that must be answered is: Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe and efficacious—provide immunisation? This question demands that Covid-19 vaccines given to Nigeria must be subjected to thorough long-term animal and clinical study by independent actual researching experts and not by the companies that produced them, their consultants, US FDA or US CDC, anyone or group of people having economic, monetary or political interest in the administration of any of the vaccines. The simplest way ‘safe’ can be explained for the purpose of this piece is that the vaccines must not trigger or cause any actual, side, or unintended harmful or deadly effect or chronic allergenic effect, directly or indirectly, to any cell, tissue, organ or system. The simplest way to explain efficacy or ‘immunisation’ is that any Nigerian injected with any of the vaccines should not develop COVID-19 when infected by the virus that causes it. Because COVID-19 vaccines were produced in months while it takes a minimum of five years of very hard and consistent work in laboratories to develop a vaccine and because the virus and the diseases it causes are novel, very rigorous, detailed and novel method must be used to study the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, just as Dr. Arpad Pusztai and the independent group that he headed did in 1998 which revealed that the GM Potato that they worked with was not safe for consumption by animals or human beings. But, disappointingly, in spite of the novelty of the virus and the disease, the safety and efficacy studies carried out on the vaccines in the USA and other countries fell short of the established animal and human population sizes, method and duration for known or familiar viruses and diseases. Moreover, no safety and efficacy study has been done by any independent actual researching expert in the USA or any other country, while this is a requirement under verification rule and the findings of this group is historically and generally honest and more reliable than studies done by the US FDA and the US CDC.
What these facts demand is that Nigeria’s federal and state governments must carry out independent, very thorough and specially designed long-term safety and efficacy study of the vaccines on the cells, organs, and tissues of rats. It should go the extra mile because of the novelty and lethality of the virus and the effects so far discovered in the USA and other countries, including blood cloth, inflammation of the heart muscle and deaths after taking two shots. There should also be clinical study guided by the results obtained from the study with rats. Studies by the federal government are the lesser of two necessary safety and efficacy studies. The greater necessity is studies by combined independent Nigerian actual researchers who have expertise or specialisation in virology and infectious diseases. Disappointingly, none of these two studies has been done in Nigeria! In the USA, ex-governor Cuomo did it for his state, New York.
Historically, vaccine administration has had mild or severe effects; vaccination does not mean immunisation and does not logically or always provide immunisation. It is worse now! Based on the discussion so far, the order to vaccinate or be locked out of office from December 1, 2021, which effectively imposes COVID-19 vaccination on Nigerians, is neither rational nor morally right. Nigerians preserve human and existential right and freedom to reject it until safety and efficacy—immunisation—are established beyond scientific, rational and reasonable doubt.
History can help us come to the conclusion that the order is not rational or moral. In this regards, it is noted that the polio vaccine administered globally caused many children to have polio which they did not have before they were vaccinated, others suffered additional or other effects and some died. This is true for the USA. Concerning Africa, in a report in Guardian online titled Polio outbreaks in Africa caused by mutation of strain in vaccine was noted, ‘New cases of polio linked to the oral vaccine have been reported in four African countries and more children are now being paralysed by vaccine-derived viruses than those infested by viruses from the wild’. The countries named are Nigeria, DRC, CAR, and Angola. Nigeria’s 2003 case was settled politically and not scientifically.
Something similar to Pfizer’s 1996 Trovan trial should not be allowed. In this regards, it is noted that vaccine administration without established safety and efficacy of the vaccines is as deadly and immoral as vaccine trial without ethical approval. Regarding diabetes vaccine—first commercialised by Ely Lily—let me note that neither Eli Lilly vaccine nor any other vaccine has cured any diabetes patient. Patients are managed at sky-high cost until they die! On the other hand, insulin obtained naturally by Banting aided by Best, and purified by Collip cured all diabetes cases it was applied to. Concerning measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, I note that Dr. Andrew Wakefield et al showed a link between the reception of the vaccine by American children and autism suffered by them. Like Nigeria’s polio case, politics and economics were behind why The Lancet Medical Journal retracted its publication of this great work after twelve years—long—of its publication in that journal.
Take note that what is common to the vaccines discussed here is that all were developed through biotechnology (genetic re-engineering) method. Take note also that COVID-19 vaccines were developed through the same tool. Take note finally, that the development of these vaccines was facilitated by viruses which served as vectors—transporters. Therefore, history teaches us that to impose COVID-19 vaccination on Nigerians is not rational or moral. Nigerians have over many years shown clearly lack of independent intellectualisation, creativity, verification, and sense of competition in relationships with non-African nations and UN organisations.
We have been notorious consumers of ideas, products, everything. Globalisation demands that we practice nationalism. This means independent definition and articulation of national interests, independent strategising on how to achieve any national interest, and carrying out the strategy steadfastly with the aim of winning the competition where the interest is at stake. This got the US to where it has been and is behind China’s great global significance. As paticularisation, COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccine necessity challenge our nationalism. Applying nationalism is a rational, moral, economic, political, developmental, and value imperative.
Odor writes from Lagos