The Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye has debunked the news making rounds that children in Nigeria were being administered a vaccine that contain 40 percent mercury.
Adeyeye made this known in a statement issued on Sunday, October 30, 2022.
She said, ” the statement that ‘children in Nigeria were being administered a vaccine that contains 40 percent mercury which was prescribed by foreign organisation’ is not true.
“Mercury is a metal, and it is not used as an element or as a component of vaccines”.
She explained that the basic components of vaccines were Antigens, adjuvants to improve immune response, antibiotics to prevent contamination during manufacturing, preservatives, and stabilizers.
The NAFDAC DG further informed that thimerosal, a mercuric compound which was a preservative used in multi dose vaccines contained a different form of mercury called ethyl mercury. However, there was no evidence of harm caused by the low doses of thimerosal in vaccines:
“As a vaccine preservative, thimerosal is used in concentrations of 0.003% to 0.01%, (for example, thimerosal content allowed in vaccine is between 30 parts to maximum of 100 parts out of million parts of the vaccine formula).
“Thimerosal is a mercury-based preservative that has been used for decades in the United States in multi-dose vials (vials containing more than one dose) of medicines and vaccines. There is no evidence of harm caused by the low doses of thimerosal in vaccines, except for minor reactions like redness and swelling at the injection site.
“However, in July 1999, the Public Health Service agencies, the American Academy of Paediatrics, and vaccine manufacturers agreed that thimerosal should be reduced or eliminated in vaccines as a precautionary measure.
Nigeria still receives some multi dose vaccines which contains thimerosal but at accepted concentration”, Adeyeye said.
She also stated that the World health Organisation (WHO) had not proscribed the use of thimerosal as an inactivating agent and preservative in vaccines as there was lack of evidence that thimerosal present risk to human health.
She then noted that the WHO had closely monitored the scientific evidence relating to the use of thimerosal as a vaccine preservative for over 10 years especially through independent expert advisory group, the Global Advisory Committee on vaccines.
She further informed that the committee had constantly reached the same conclusion that there was no evidence to suggest that the amount of thimerosal used in vaccines posed a health risk.
Speaking on NAFDAC’s position with regards human vaccines used in the country, Prof. Adeyeye said:
“Other expert groups the U.S. Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Paediatrics, the United Kingdom Committee on Safety of Medicines, and the European Agency for Evaluation of Medicinal Products have reached similar conclusions.
“NAFDAC follows WHO approved protocol before issuing out or release certificates before any human vaccines can be used in Nigeria, which is done after laboratory analysis and summary lot protocol review”.