The former Registrar, Veterinary Council of Nigeria, VCN, Dr Markus Avong, has called on the Federal Government to licence animal vaccine importers over possible inflow of fake and adulterated products into the livestock industry.
Avong said the livestock industry remains strategic in diversifying the economy. According to him some unscrupulous persons may be involved in bringing fake animal vaccines into the country without following due process.
He also acknowledged the effort of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, whose Medicine and Allied Products Department, Ibadan, has been visiting veterinary establishments to ensure that whatever inputs, vaccines and drugs they are using comply with the department’s requirements before it issues them registration number.
Also in his assertion animal vaccine products might look fake, because they were not properly preserved and poorly handled, which requires cool conditions.
He also decried display of vaccines by some people under intense sunlight which destroys vital organisms inside the vaccines, and that such exposure renders the vaccine impotent, including the activities of smugglers make vaccines lost effectiveness.
“Animal vaccines like any other medicament there is a tendency for them to be faked, especially when unscrupulous people are involved in bringing these things without following the due process.
“Due process by the Animal Control Act of Decree 10 of 1988 the Federal Department of Livestock are supposed to licence those who supposed to import the vaccines, and of course National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, too comes in to assess the quality of the vaccines.
“I am aware that quite a number of vaccines including vaccines that have been prohibited for use in Nigeria such as the avian influenza vaccine do occasionally find their way into the country and some of these vaccines come from our neighbouring countries. So there is that tendency for fake vaccines just like other veterinary inputs find their way into the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said fake animal vaccine products could be identified by two ways.
“There are two ways; clinically, you will know there are fake products when a vaccine fails to protect the animals that have been vaccinated. The question is how often do you go back to access to know whether the failure of the vaccine to protect the animal was as a result of a fake product being used?
“Secondly, periodically some of these things are supposed to be tested for their potency to be sure what is written on the leaflet matches what is inside the product. If people follow due process in importing these things the tendency of having fake products will be minimal.
“As a professional before you buy and put any veterinary input to use you should be able to find out whether the vaccine was approved for importation by the appropriate authorities, and I believe as a serious practitioner you can fall back to the authority when you have doubts”, he stated.