The Global Prolife Alliance (GPA) has written to the Senate President, Dr Godswill Akpabio, regarding what it referred to as “urgent concerns regarding malaria vaccine safety and ethics.”

Signed by its chairman, Dr Philip Njemanze, GPA said: “We write to bring to your attention critical information regarding the recent introduction of the malaria vaccine as routine immunization in the Republic of  Cameroon. The discussions surrounding the adoption of routine malaria  vaccination in other African countries, including Nigeria, necessitate a precautionary approach to ensure safety and the strict observance of ethical  standards related to parental informed consent.”

According to the group, in the early 2000s, a malaria vaccine was developed by some organisations and it became the first malaria vaccine tested in large clinical studies.

The group said: “While the trials  demonstrated a reduction in clinical malaria in children and infants, it is crucial  to note that vaccine efficacy declined over time.

“Recent data from clinical trials associated the vaccine with increased risks,  including an elevated risk of clinical malaria after four years, a tenfold increased risk of cerebral meningitis, an increased risk of cerebral malaria and a higher risk of death, especially among female children.”

The group noted that the World Health Organization (WHO) endorsed the first vaccine based on the initial two years of  a four-year pilot study, and concerns have been raised about the transparency of WHO regarding vaccine safety.

The group further stated: “Notably, cerebral malaria and female mortality were more  pronounced after the booster dose at 20 months. Investigators have suggest that, by shortening the follow-up to two years, WHO zoomed in on this period with maximum benefits against malaria and minimum harms in terms of female mortality.

“Of significant concern is the violation of the right to informed consent, as outlined in a

2014 WHO policy document. The ‘implied consent process’ raises questions about  whether parents are adequately informed and have given explicit consent for their children’s vaccination.

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“We, as Nigerians and concerned citizens, are alarmed by the WHO’s push for increasing childhood vaccinations without sufficient consideration of scientific evidence suggesting a precautionary approach and respect for individual rights to informed consent.

“We urge the National Assembly to address these concerns, particularly regarding WHO’s

experimentation on African children without proper informed parental consent, which poses threats to children’s health and fundamental human rights guaranteed under the

1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“We appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to your oversight function to ensure the health and rights of the people of Nigeria.”

The group also petitioned members of the National Assembly stating: “Among the side effects is a tenfold increase in cerebral meningitis. Nigeria is endemic for cerebral meningitis. A tenfold increase could cause the deaths of millions of children, especially in Northern Nigeria.

“Please, intervene and call for a public hearing for an open public discussion on the pros and cons with expert opinions from both sides. This will help the Nigerian people to be better informed so as to grant or withhold consent for the vaccination.

“Your intervention could save millions of lives, especially in Northern Nigeria, where meningitis is most endemic, particularly at this time of serious insecurity.”