Ik Muo, PhD.
As I was gathering ‘materials’ (a very popular term, with diverse interpretations’ amongst present-day students) for this article, I received this ‘ Breaking news’: The 4th wave of Oga-Coro has been postponed as all media houses have been busy covering Ukraine crises and forgotten about covid experience. New release dates of new variants of Covid will be announced in due course. Sorry for the inconveniences! This was a follow up to an earlier, equally sarcastic tweet by Dr Eli David that ‘The war in Ukraine has ended Covid; the once-in-a-century pandemic is gone overnight. Nobody talks about it; nobody cares about it again. Isn’t science amazing?’ Another related message was that the Ukraine crisis had given Oga-Coro, a TKO( Technical Knock Out) because since the war started (then in its 10th day), nobody had died of the monstrous virus. In effect, the antivaxxers, naysayers and conspiracy theorists have been having a good laugh at the expense of Oga-Coro and its various stakeholders. Their argument is that a pandemic, which has cost the world about $11trn (according to Mr Oramah, CEO of Afrexim Bank), and cost African Airlines about $ 8.5bn in 2021 (according to African Airlines Association) has suddenly been subdued because everybody has turned attention to the Russian MIR ( Might is Right)action and emerging David-vs-Goliath scenario in Ukraine. The above messages also imply that the various waves, variants, and even death-tolls were concocted by people and thus could be announced at convenient dates!
The antivaxxers also asked some rhetorical questions, which poked the scientific and logical foundations of the vaccination regimen, while reinforcing their argument that the vaccines were fraudulent and against common sense. This tweet by one Dr Zahradeen is an example; it shows how the doses will continue its upwards spiral: the 3rd dose increases immunity, so after the 4th dose, you are protected. Once 80% of the populace has received the 5th dose, the restrictions can be relaxed as the 6th dose stops the virus from spreading. I am calm and believe that the 7th dose will solve our problems and we have no reason to fear the 8th dose. The clinical phase of the 9th dose confirms that the antibodies remain stable after the 10th dose. The 11th dose guarantees that no new mutations will develop so there is no longer any reason to criticise the idea of 12th dose. Another message from an unknown author quips that they are telling the un-jabbed to take the jab because the jab works and telling the jabbed to get a booster because the jab doesn’t work. All while telling everyone that the un-jabbed are putting the jabbed in danger by not getting a jab that did not protect the jabbed. And another concluded that ‘if you still needed a booster after being fully vaccinated and still need to get a test and still wear a face mask after being fully vaccinated and still get hospitalized after being fully vaccinated, then It is probably time you admitted that you have been FULLY coned. There was this futuristic man who has configured that by 2025, he would need an evidence of his 34th booster to enable him buy ordinary sandwich!
There are also some developments that support their assertions that Oga-Coro has been subdued. Israel, where covid vaccines were demystified, had abolished its Learning & Covid Testing Scheme, which means that students will no longer be required to test or fill out health declarations before accessing education institutions. Google has stopped requesting its US-based workers to be vaccinated just as US Defense and Justice Departments no longer require masks to be worn indoors in Washington area. France had dropped vaccination passes and forced masking while passengers are no longer required to be vaccinated before or after visiting UK. Kenya has also joined the league of countries dismantling Covid mandates while Nigeria has lifted the pre-travel PCR testing requirement for vaccinated Nigerians and visitors, who will rather be subjected to rapid antigen tests at the Airport, at the cost of the government. In West-Virginia, the House of Delegates by 68 against 28 vote, passed Bill 4320 to the effect that employers should accept natural immunity in lieu of vaccines. In South Carolina, the house also proposed a law to stop employers from asking about the Covid status of their staff.
People have further raised eyebrows about the 47000 adverse effects and 127 deaths recorded in the first months of inoculating the Pfizer vaccine, an outcome that is in tandem with the VAERS(Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System). They recalled that during the 1974 swine flu, vaccination was stopped after 25 deaths while this time around such a drastic step was not taking after 127 deaths! There was also the report by the Israeli Ministry of Health that in a random survey of 2049 boosted people, 75% women and 58% men reported at least one side effect within 21-30 days. While most of these affects were minor, 51% of the women and 35% of the men reported that the side effects had prevented them from performing their daily activities. Furthermore,5.5% had chest pain, 4.5% experienced neurological side effects with 0.29% reporting hospitalisation within 30 days.24% of those with pre-existing autoimmune and 5-10%of those with diabetes, hypertension, lung and heart disease had worsened conditions. They held that the Pfizer report and Israeli research were suspiciously belated and used these to support their views that the vaccines were harmful and should not have been pushed with such aggressiveness by ‘covid-cultists’ across the globe.
Antivaxxers also relied on rising insurance claims to ‘prove’ that vaccination was deadly and that it’s promoters and enforcers have hidden, anti-life agenda. Dutch insurer, Aegon, which does most of its business in USA reported that its insurance claims rose from $31m in the 3rd quarter of 2020 to $111m, in the 3rd quarter of 2021 (258% increase). MetLife and Prudential Financial also reported higher claims settlements while and Old Mutual raised its projected 2021 Covid related health claims by 33%. Antivaxxers aver these rising claims were due to the impact of aggressive vaccinations that took place in 2021. The US-CDC had also affirmed that whether a person had been vaccinated or not, if such a person had prior infection, he or she was one-third as likely to catch Covid as those who had been vaccinated. In effect, the Covid-recovered are better protected than the vaccinated; another bullet in the armoury of antivaxxers
The Israeli case was actually a quagmire to the global medical-scientific community. According to Prof Y Jerris, about 70-80% of the severe cases had received triple jabs, an indication that the vaccines could not deflate the frontal attack by Oga-Coro and these were suffering from the Omicron variant, which was more merciful than the Delta variant. Covid cases inexplicably got worse after the 4th booster shot, which led to the tongue-in-cheek tweet by Dr Eli David that Israeli’s 4th booster shot is a roaring success!
Deadly data from Israel as at 2/2/22
Mercifully, the COVID-19 infections are decreasing in Israel, with new infections of 7970 as at 15/3/22, about 7% of the peak recorded on 25/1/22
There has also been a rash of breakthrough infections and deaths across the globe. A breakthrough case is are when somebody who has been FULLY vaccinated gets reinfected or dies, especially within 14 days of the last dose. Between 22nd and 29th January this year, Massachusetts Health Department reported 290 breakthrough deaths, making it 1789 of such deaths. During that period, there were 27530 new infections and 555 new hospitalisations among the fully vaccinated, raising the total breakthrough tally for the state at 422132 infections and 6440 hospitalisations.
The Israeli quagmire and the avalanche of breakthrough cases raised, once more, the issue of the usefulness of vaccines. If Israel, the most vaccinated nation in the world had a large-scale recrudescence of deadly infections, and if people fully vaccinated are becoming ‘re-coronised’ and
re-hospitalised, with some dying in the process, then, the case for vaccines becomes porous. But even though I do not have any medical background, the explanation for this situation is obvious. In the first instance, no vaccine has ever claimed 100% efficacy. A vaccine that has 95% efficacy means that about 5% of the vaccinated would not be protected. 5% is relatively small but when it is applied to a country like Nigeria, it means that if we all had that 95%-efficacious vaccine, about 10m of us would not likely be protected. Secondly, we are all different and our bodies react differently to the same regimen. This excludes those with underlining conditions. There are also scientific evidence that those who are unvaccinated are more likely to die of Covid that the vaccinated.
4Funny enough, while people are rubbishing vaccines, many others are doing ‘good’ business and making sinful money by selling vaccine cards all over the world, including Nigeria.
These include Jullie DeVuono, proprietor of Wild Chile Pediatric Healthcare, Amityville, and her employee-nurse, Marisa Urraro, who had made about $1,500,000 before they were caught in the ‘business’ they started just the other day (in November 2021). They were charging $220 per adult and $85 per child.
Nigerians were also arrested in Bauchi for buying and selling the Covid-19 Green Cards. The Presidential Steering Committee has also deactivated the international passports of 200 PCR-Test defaulters for 12 months after discovering fake PCR tests and vaccination cards. Methinks it is better to be a certified antivaxxer than to fraudulently obtain the card and pretend to have been vaccinated. Still on vaccine related matters, the WHO has also announced that Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, Senegal South Africa and Tunisia would soon start vaccine production. This is after many of our experts have declared authoritatively that Nigeria lacked the capacity to produce Coro vaccines. These experts include D.O Oluwayelu, a professor of virology, Faisal Shuaibu; Director General of NPHCDA, DR Fidelis Ayabae Chairman, of Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Group of MAN, and Prof Abdulahi Mustapha, Director General, National Biotechnology Development Agency. Furthermore, Moderna has just signed a $500m MOU with Kenya for the manufacture of vaccines while WHO recently approved another vaccine for emergency use bringing to 9, the number of approved vaccines. That means that Covid vaccines and vaccinations are still with us.
And as many are celebrating the subjugation of Oga Coro, Hong Kong experienced its 5th wave as cases rose by a factor of 13 from 100 in early February to 2071 as at mid-February, an experience which the government had described as an ‘aggravating situation’. But that was in February. Just the other day (22/3/22) China shut down the industrial city of Shenyang, baring its 9m residents from leaving their houses without a negative report in the previous 48 hours and placed all the compounds under ‘close management’ just as it announced 4000 fresh cases. It had earlier ordered a partial closedown of the city of Suzouh over the same mater. Two new sub-variants of Omicron have also reported for duty in China and Israel
So? Vaccines are still in the market and will continue to be in the market in the nearest future and I believe that they are useful. Furthermore, Oga-Coro is real and has not been subdued. I believe that, just as the WHO had advised, we have decided to treat Coro as one of those things so that we can move on with our lives.
Meanwhile, there are several other developments in the Coro biosphere. It continues to maintain its rating as a celebrity-virus by afflicting the high and the mighty. These include the one and only Obama, Hilary Clinton, 25 year old Canadian popstar, Justin Bieder and the 95 year old ‘onyilonwu’, Queen of England.
It is now an old news that Trump a first-class antivaxxer, has received the booster shot and pleaded for understanding from his supporters whom he misled in this Coro and vaccine matter. Luck recently shone on the Federal Capital Territory as the World bank approved N1.bn to help it deal with the impact of Oga-Coro. I just hope that the whole money will not go into consultancy!
Only about 11% of Africans have been vaccinated but only 7.2% had received the full doses. In Europe and North America, it is 60% single dose and >50% full dose, while in Asia, it is about 50%. In Nigeria, the Marginalisation of the South-East continues in the vaccination sphere. As at 2/2/22, out of the expected 100,000 daily shots, the region had an abysmal vaccination record of 6000 daily, which according to the CEO of National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, is due mostly to disinformation and infighting between Executive Secretaries of NPHCDA and Commissioners of health. The US army had also concluded plans to discharge soldiers who refuse to comply with compulsory vaccination mandate. According to Christine Wormouth, Secretary of the Army, the portended risks to the force and jeopardized operational readiness. On 11/2/22, Pakistan set a new global vaccine record with 2.2m doses administered in a single day. This means that about 1% of the Pakistanis population was vaccinated in a day. Pfizer has also been seeking green light to vaccinate kids below five years. As we continue to argue and counter-argue about the efficacy and integrity of vaccines, Kano State Government, through its Agriculture Project has partnered with Nigerian Institute of Animal Science to vaccinate 1.3m cows for fattening purpose. There are no conspiracy theories and antivaxxers in this case! Kogi State Government, which fought the FG over covid containment and management, and whose Governor( a reluctant presidential candidate) has declared ad-nauseam that Coro was a fraud, has blamed Covid for the delayed implementation of Minimum wage in the state.
Meanwhile, Coro related research continues unabated, with prodigious outputs. A study by the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria and African Forum for Research and Education in Health has revealed that coro-related deaths are high among hospitalized children and adolescents in Africa. It was based in 6 sub-Saharan African countries. Swedish researchers from Lund University found that mRNA from Pfizer’s vaccine enters human liver and is converted into DNA in human cells within 6 hours. This is contrary to the CDC claims that mRNA vaccines do not interact or change the DNA in any way. Stanford University researchers have discovered that the spike protein created by vaccines remains in the body much longer than it is generally believed. A group of researchers led by Gwenaëlle Douaud, an associate professor of neurosciences at the University of Oxford, has found that people who have contracted COVID-19 no matter how mild may have accelerated aging of the brain and even increased chances of having dementia or Alzheimer’s. South-Africa’s Afrigen Biologics has created a global record by producing mRNA vaccine, using the Moderna Data. The vaccine will be tested on humans this year. The WHO has also disclosed that in the first year of Covid, the prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by as much as 25%. Of course, concerns about the mental implications of Covid is a global issue and that is why about 90% of the countries surveyed included mental health and psychological support in their covid response policies and programmes.
Meanwhile, we must all avoid the tendency to focus all attention on Coro while ignoring all other medical challenges that face us as a country and the whole of humanity. The WHO had announced that no fewer than 10m people died as a result of cancer in 2021. In Nigeria, Project Link-Blue announced that cancer leads to the death of about 70000 Nigerians annually( 28424 male, 41913 female). The commonest cases are breast cancer(25.7%) ; cervix uteri, (14.6%); prostate(12.8%). non-hodgkin lymphoma( 5.3%) and liver, 5%; with breast cancer having the highest mortality rate of 18.6%. Meanwhile, only 3142 have died of coro in Nigeria and 6136767 across the globe since ‘inception’. So how come all the ‘noise’ about coro,for which and humongous amounts were, and continue to be, budgeted? What happens to other health/ medical challenges? I believe that the case, the world should review its near-total focus on Covid. And here is how we manage our coro-containment policies and programmes:
On 18/8/20, the committee on implementation of Post-Coro Initiatives for the creative industry, headed by Ali-Baba was inaugurated. The committee was to estimate the impact of coro on the sector and advise Government on how to mitigate revenue and job losses and create succor for the industry small businesses. One year later, 18/8/21 and even as at date, artistes and culture workers are still waiting.The great Lai had said , when the committee presented its report, that ‘we would study the report and commence its implementation in earnest’.
Where and when is the earnest? Nigeria, we hail thee!
Ik Muo, PhD. Department of Business Administration, OOU, Ago-Iwoye. 08033026624