The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has refuted claims that children in Nigeria were being administered a vaccine that contained 40 per cent mercury, which was prescribed by foreign organisations.
The agency made this known in a press statement signed by its Director General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, and made available to The PUNCH by the agency’s Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola, on Sunday.
There have been reports on some media platforms (not The PUNCH) stating that multi-dose vaccines containing 40 per cent mercury, banned about 30 years ago in Europe and over 20 years ago in America, are still being applied to Nigerian children’s bodies. NAFDAC, however, said mercury is a metal and it is not used as an element or as a component of vaccines.
The statement read in part, “Thimerosal, a mercuric compound which is a preservative used in multi-dose vaccines, contains a different form of mercury called ethyl mercury.
“As a vaccine preservative, thimerosal is used in concentrations of 0.003 per cent to 0.01 per cent (for example, thimerosal content allowed in vaccines is between 30 parts and a 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 contain thimerosal but at an accepted concentration. “However, the World Health Organisation has not proscribed the use of thimerosal as an inactivating agent and preservative in vaccines as there is a lack of evidence that thimerosal presents a risk to human health.”