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Big Brother Naija’s former housemates party together (Video)

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BBNaijas

Recall during the Big Brother Naija season 5 reunion all wasn’t so rosy between Tolanibaj, Dorathy, Lilo and Prince; as they dragged one another on the show.

Tolanibaj accused Prince of not being man enough for choosing to be in a ship with Dorathy Bachor; after she was eliminated from the reality show, which resulted in Dorathy accusing her of trying to force a relationship with Prince.

Tolanibaj also accused Prince of kissing Lilo while at the back of the bus in which other housemates were present, adding that she had to tell the driver to stop and leave the bus.

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COVID-19: Nigerian govt reacts as ‘one million’ vaccine doses expire

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Some of the donated vaccines brought into Nigeria on Monday

The Nigerian government has confirmed the report of the expiration of doses of vaccines supplied to the country, blaming the development on the short-shelf lives of the vaccines.

In a statement personally signed by the health minister, Osagie Ehanire, and dated December 8, 2021, the government said the expired vaccines had been withdrawn and will be destroyed by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the country’s agency in charge of drug and foods standards.

The minister, however, failed to confirm the number of the expired vaccines or their brand.

But sources familiar with the vaccine management in Nigeria confirmed to Reuters that the expired doses were of AstraZeneca (AZN.L) brand and delivered via COVAX, the dose-sharing facility led by the GAVI vaccine alliance and the WHO.

Although Reuters reported that 1 million doses have gone to waste, an insider who spoke anonymously Wednesday morning with PREMIUM TIMES for fear of victimisation, said the figures were exaggerated, but confirmed some doses expired in November.

Vaccine expiration

Amidst the biting consequences of vaccine scarcity being experienced in Africa, about one million COVID-19 vaccines are estimated to have expired in Nigeria in November without being used, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

According to WHO, only about four per cent of Nigeria’s estimated 206 million population have been fully vaccinated.

Another source with knowledge of the delivery said some of the doses arrived within four-to-six weeks of expiry and could not be used in time, despite efforts by health authorities.

A count of the expired doses is still underway and an official number is yet to be finalised, the sources said.

“Nigeria is doing everything it can. But it’s struggling with short shelf life vaccines,” one told Reuters. “Now (supply is) unpredictable and they’re sending too much.”

A spokesperson for the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA)- the body responsible for vaccinations in Nigeria- told Reuters, the number of vaccines received and used is still being tallied and it would share its findings in the coming days.

The WHO said doses had expired, but declined to give a figure. It said 800,000 additional doses that had been at risk of expiry in October were all used in time.

“Vaccine wastage is to be expected in any immunisation programme, and in the context of COVID-19 deployment is a global phenomenon,” the WHO said in a statement responding to Reuters’ questions. It said vaccines delivered with “very short” shelf lives were a problem.

Nigeria’s vaccine loss appears to be one of the largest of its kind over such a short time period, even outstripping the total number of vaccines that some other countries in the region have received.

Nigeria not alone

Across Europe, countries including Germany and Switzerland have struggled to maximise the use of doses.

In January, officials in Britain forecast wastage of about 10 per cent of vaccines.

TEXEM

In April, France’s health minister told local media that 25 per cent of AstraZeneca, 20 per cent of Moderna (MRNA.O) and 7 per cent of Pfizer (PFE.N) vaccines were being wasted at the time.

Local vaccine manufacturing best solution – Minister

The minister said the solution to the challenge of vaccine expiration is local manufacturing of vaccines, adding that such belief informed the commitment of the Nigerian government to strengthen partnership with relevant private sectors towards achieving the target.

“This dilemma is not typical to Nigeria, but a situation in which many low- and medium-income countries find themselves,” he said, adding that donation of surplus COVID-19 vaccines with expiring shelf lives to developing countries has been a matter of “international discussion”.

“Nigeria has utilised most of the over 10 million short-shelf-life doses of COVID-19 vaccines so far supplied to us, in good time, and saved N16.4 billion or more than 40 million dollars in foreign exchange,” the minister said

In order to prevent the recurrence of such an event, he said Nigeria needs to produce its own vaccines, so that vaccines produced have at least 12 months to expire.

“This is why the Federal Ministry of Health is collaborating with stakeholders to fast-track establishment of indigenous vaccine manufacturing capacity. This is a goal we are pursuing with dedication,” he said.

Meanwhile, the minister said the ministry had communicated the challenge of short shelf lives and “some manufacturers offered to extend the vaccine shelf life by three months, a practice that, though accepted by experts, is declined by the Federal Ministry of Health, because it is not accommodated in Nigeria’s standards.”

Mr Ehanire noted that Nigeria received vaccine donations “mainly from European countries, who have offered us doses of COVID-19 vaccines out of their stockpiles, free of charge, through COVAX or AVAT facility.”

Additionally, Mr Ehanire said Nigeria accepts these vaccines even with their short shelf life because “they close critical vaccine supply gaps and save scarce foreign exchange procurement costs.”

NIDO kicks

Meanwhile, Nigerian professionals in diaspora have described the hurried shipping of nearly expired doses of vaccines to Africa as a “symptom of vaccine racism”.

The Public Relations Officer, Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) Americas USA, Yinka Tella, said, “It is the same cynical attitude that is driving the selective banning of African countries from Western capitals on account of the Omicron variant which has now been identified in more than 50 countries around the world.”

Berating the country, Mr Tella said Nigeria “does not take itself seriously considering the enormous resources at its disposal.”

“NIDO does not blame the West for how they treat Nigeria… if we are tired, we need to come up with a better paradigm as a people,” he said, adding that; “Nigeria cannot continue to rely on foreign benevolence in virtually all sectors of life.”

Experts speak

Also reacting to the development, Nigeria’s foremost Virologist, Oyewale Tomori, said, “If this is happening, then we are in trouble. We do not have enough and we are wasting.”

“On second thought, the NPHCDA is asking us to come for boosters when we have barely vaccinated five per cent of our population.”

Speculating, Mr Tomori said the fear of losing the vaccine might be the reason why citizens are being invited to take booster shots.

He further urged the NPHCDA to be more transparent about vaccination information like their counterparts in other countries.

He added; “It is a terrible indictment on us as a nation and on the government, if it is true. But we do not need to panic but to strategists on how to utilise what we have left.”

According to Mr Kolawole Oladipo, Head of Department, Microbiology, Adeleke University, Osun State, vaccine wastage is always expected during immunisation due to some factors like the logistics, the shelf-half-life of the vaccines, among others.”

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Victoria Covid-19: Traces of Omicron found at Melbourne Airport as Victoria reports four cases

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BREAKING NEWS: Melbourne airport Omicron alert as Victoria reports FOUR cases of mutant-super variant

Melbourne Airport has been put on alert after traces of the Omicron super variant were found in the wastewater – as Victoria records four suspected cases of the infectious strain. 

Health authorities confirmed three of the four suspected Omicron infections have been out in the community.

Two suspected cases had already been reported on Wednesday but Victoria’s department on health confirmed they were notified of another two on Thursday.

Workers and travellers who visited the city’s airport have now been urged to monitor for symptoms and get tested as soon as they appear, following the two positive detections.

Melbourne Airport has been put on alert after traces of the Omicron super variant were found in the wastewater – as Victoria records four suspected cases of the infectious strain (pictured are returning travellers at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport)

‘The samples from two airport catchments were collected on 1-2 December and are consistent with a known suspected case of the Omicron variant who visited the airport,’ the health department said. 

Authorities say they are speaking with the suspected case and notifying any close or casual contacts.

“A number of contacts have been identified and instructed to quarantine for seven or 14 days based on their vaccination status,’ they said.

‘Other people of lower risk have been instructed to get a test and isolate until they receive a negative result. Further contact tracing work is ongoing and is likely to produce more contacts.’

More to come 

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UK: Health Secretary’s oral statement to Parliament on COVID-19

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Mr Speaker, with permission, I’d like to update the House on the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’re working night and day to understand more about the Omicron variant.

There’s a lot still to learn, but some important data has emerged very recently and I’d like to update the House on the latest developments.

Mr Speaker, there are three reasons why the Omicron variant is a threat.

The first is that it’s far more transmissible than the Delta variant.

The Delta variant was much more transmissible than the Alpha variant and we’re confident that Omicron is significantly more transmissible than Delta.

We can see this most starkly when looking at how many days it takes for the number of infections to double for each variant.

For Delta, this was around every seven days but for Omicron, based on the latest data from here and around the world, our latest analysis is that it’s around between two and a half and three days.

Mr Speaker, this has made the virus an even more formidable foe.

The rate of growth in S-gene drop out cases in England is similar to that observed in South Africa.

Although there are only 568 confirmed Omicron cases in the UK, we know that the actual number of infections will be significantly higher.

The UK Health Security Agency estimates that the number of infections will be around 20 times higher than the number of confirmed cases and so the number of infections is closer to 10,000.

UKHSA estimate that at the current observed doubling rate of between two and a half and three days by the end of this month infections could exceed a million.

Second, severity.

We don’t yet have comprehensive data on the severity of this virus but rising rates of hospitalisation in South Africa show that it certainly has the potential to cause harm, and this is a country where the average age is 13 years lower than in the UK, where they have a high level of antibodies from natural infection, and where it’s currently the middle of their summer.

Even if severity is lower or the same as Delta, high transmissibility means the Omicron variant can still have a severe impact with the threat of more hospitalisations and unsustainable pressure on the NHS.

This wouldn’t just mean an impact on Covid treatment but the non-Covid care that we all rely on such as emergency care if somebody was sadly involved in a serious accident.

When we set out Plan B, we said we’d act if the NHS was likely to come under unsustainable pressure and would stop being able to provide the care and treatment that people need.

The Omicron variant has given us cause for concern.

Third, we’ve been looking closely at what the Omicron variant means for our vaccination programme.

New laboratory data which has emerged in the last 24 hours suggests that there is lower immunity against Omicron from vaccination, when compared to the Delta variant so that two doses of a vaccine is less effective at reducing transmission in the community.

Early research published today by Pfizer suggests that a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine neutralised the Omicron variant to levels that are similar to the impact of two doses against the original strain of the virus.

So it’s more important that we get our boosters than ever, available for all those eligible, and keep strengthening the defences that we’ve built.

Today we’ve opened booster bookings to seven million more people in England.

So people aged 40 and over – and those in high-risk groups – will be able to get their booster jab from three months after their second dose.

Another defence is new treatments which have a huge part to play in protecting the most vulnerable from Covid-19, especially for those who are immunosuppressed and so vaccines may be less effective.

Today, we’ve announced plans for thousands of people across the UK to be among the first in the world to access life-saving antivirals through a new national study.

People who are at highest risk from the virus for example, those who are immunocompromised or cancer patients, will also be able to access treatments outside this study from next Thursday if they have a positive PCR test.

Mr Speaker, we have built some powerful defences.

We’ve put more boosters in arms than any country in Europe.

We’ve built a huge nationwide infrastructure for testing.

And we’re leading the world in the deployment of new treatments.

Thanks to these defences and our decision to open in the summer rather than the winter, we’re much better protected than we were this time last year and we need this protection now more than ever.

Because although Omicron is becoming more and more prevalent over the next few days and weeks, we’ll be seeing Delta and Omicron variants circulating together.

Facing these twin threats without these pharmaceutical defences would have been hard enough but even with them in place, we still face a perilous winter and so unfortunately, we need to take steps against the threat of this new variant.

When we were moving down our road to recovery, we looked at four tests to see whether we should proceed to the next stage.

That the vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.

That the evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those that are vaccinated.

That infection rates don’t risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.

And that our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.

Unfortunately, the situation is markedly different now to how it was in the summer, when we were able to open up and so we must take proportionate steps to meet this emerging threat.

Mr Speaker, these are not measures that any of us want to take.

But it’s these measures that give us the best chance of saving lives and protecting our freedom over the next few weeks and it’s precisely because we don’t want a lockdown that we’re putting these proportionate steps in place now.

As we’ve seen before, if we act early, firmly and decisively, and come down hard on this new Omicron variant now then we can avert tougher action later.

I know that the news of further measures will be disappointing for many people and that every measure comes with a cost.

I can assure the House that as we’ve made these decisions, we’ve taken a wide-ranging view.

Looking not just at the impact on the NHS – both in terms of Covid and non-Covid care but also the impact on the nation’s education, economy, life chances and mental health.
Mr Speaker, I’d like to update the House on the measures we will now take to enact Plan B.

First, guidance on working from home.

We will be reintroducing this guidance.

It will be updated to say that only people who cannot work from home should continue to go into their workplace.

We know that this has an important play in slowing transmission, both at workplaces and on public transport.
Second, certification.

We will be introducing mandatory certification, based on vaccines or tests, in nightclubs and large events.

This will reduce the number of unvaccinated, infectious people in venues which could limit overall transmission.

Third, face coverings.

We’ll be extending the legal requirement for shops and public transport to all indoor public settings including attractions and recreation although hospitality will be exempt and we’ll be exempting specific activities where it is not possible or practical to wear a face covering, for example singing and exercise.

We’ll be laying these regulations tomorrow, to come into force the following day.

Fourth, as Omicron spreads in the community, we will also introduce daily tests for contacts instead of isolation so we keep people safe while minimising the disruption to daily life.

Fifth, communications.

We’ll be urging caution in all our communications on Covid-19 and keep urging people to get their booster doses and to follow the little steps that can to help get this virus under control.

These regulations will be reviewed on the 5th of January, when we will also update the House and they will sunset on the 26th of January.

Finally, Mr Speaker, we’ll also be taking further measures to protect and support social care and we’ll be updating the House on a package of measures later this week.

Mr Speaker, it’s better to stay a step ahead of the virus rather than reacting to what it brings.

Taking control of our response now rather than waiting for what comes next.

Waiting a few weeks would make it easier to explain the need for these measures but then it might well be too late.

So we need to act now and take these balanced and proportionate steps.

Mr Speaker, we take these steps with a heavy heart.

But we do so confident that we’re doing everything in our power to keep our nation safe this winter.

We’ve come so far over the course of this year – thanks to the defences we’ve built against this deadly virus.

Now, as we face this new threat, we must draw on the same spirit that’s got us here, strengthen our defences and think about what we can do to get this virus under control.

I commend this statement to the House.

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