OAU Don Tackles NAFDAC’s Director General  On The Use Of Mercury In Vaccines, Says It’s Harmful



 Summary: NAFDAC’s current regulations will not permit in a body lotion, the level and

 form of mercury it claims to be harmless in some vaccines being administered to children.

 Copious news reports have brought to our attention a Press Release issued by the National

 Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on 24th October, 2022. The

  Release attempts to underplay the indisputable fact that vaccines, in formats long-proscribed in

 the developed nations, on safety considerations, are still being shipped to Nigeria for use in our


 The NAFDAC’s Press Release was craftily directed at an uncited media “statement” which supposedly claimed that the mercury content in the vaccines in question is 40%. The focus of the Release was thereafter directed at this wrongly quoted value. In actuality, it is thimerosal that contains 49.6% of ethyl mercury, while the concentration of thimerosal in vaccines could range from 0.003 to 0.01% as correctly stated in the NAFDAC’s statement. Since the NAFDAC’s Release is obviously directed, ultimately, at submissions made at the recently concluded 7th National Conference on Environment and Health convened by us, we reproduce here, for the records, our exact statement on the issue. Observation No 3 in the Conference Communique


The full Communique can be obtained from

i. It was observed that while the use of thimerosal (49.6% ethyl mercury) as preservative in traditional vaccines had been proscribed in the USA for over 2 decades, and in Europe for more than 30 years, this practice is still ongoing in Nigeria. This is based on recommendations stemming from Risk Assessment exercises carried out by foreign/global agencies. Vaccines so affected include Hepatitis B and Tetanus-Diphteria multidose vaccines. Mercury in all forms is known to be neurotoxic.

ii. By switching to single-dose forms of the same vaccine, as is done in the developed countries, the need for the use of thimerosal (as preservative) will be eliminated.

   The issue is therefore not the wrongly-ascribed (possibly a typo) value of 40% as mercury content in the vaccine.

The 0.003 – 0.01% value quoted by the NAFDAC, while sounding miniscule as expressed in percentages, is actually humongous in trace elements toxicology. The upper limit actually translates to 25 microgram of ethyl mercury in a typical 0.5mL dose which could be administered, in the case of Hepatitis B vaccine, to day-old low-birthweight babies. By comparison, the WHO recommended limit for mercury in 0.5 mL of waste water that can be used for agricultural purposes is 0.0005 microgram. That is 50,000 times lower than the mercury level

  in the vaccine!

 The NAFDAC is certainly not unaware of the highly toxic nature of mercury. Indeed the Agency

 has literally ZERO tolerance for mercury appearing, in any form, in all cosmetics and other

 household products. A statement on NAFDAC’s website explains this proscription:

  “Mercury is prohibited in cosmetics products because it can be harmful to health and can

 be absorbed into the body and causes damage to the kidneys and nervous system, as well

 as disrupt the brain development of young or unborn children…” three-cosmetics-products-by-malaysian-ministry-of-health/

 Deliberately loading babies, repeatedly, with such humongous amount of mercury is therefore

 clearly unconscionable. The practice was proscribed in Europe over 30 years ago, and despite

 considerable resistance by the formidable Vaccine Lobby, it was also proscribed in the USA some

 10 years later. Despite NAFDAC’s repeated claim of no evidence of harm, the sole reason for the

 proscription of these vaccines in the developed nations is SAFETY.

 The NAFDAC attempts to befuddle this straightforward issue by repeatedly appealing to the

 World Health Organization. According to the NAFDAC, since the WHO has not placed an

 outright proscription on the product, NAFDAC can continue to load the brains of Nigerian

 children with levels of mercury which would be unacceptable in waste waters and cosmetics.

 And just to be clear, global bodies such as the WHO or the UNEP (United Nations Environment

 Programme) are primarily concerned with issues that traverse nations. Using negotiations and

 consensus-building, acceptable middle-ground solutions that would least rock the boat are

 endorsed and recommended in the sensitive task of accommodating the widely different values

 and interests represented in nearly 200 member states. It is left for each nation to decide on

 strictly local issues – such as how much mercury to pump into the brain of their babies.

 For emphasis, it was not the WHO that proscribed the use of thimerosal in vaccines in the

 developed nations, but the national agencies – the equivalents of our NAFDAC – in those nations.

 The WHO’s perspective for risk assessment of the continued use of thimerosal-containing

 vaccines is not by any means a secret. It is clearly indicated in several technical articles, such as

 the one by Drain et al (2003) published in the official Bulletin of the WHO (Drain PK, Nelson CM,

  Lloyd JS. Single-dose versus multi-dose vaccine vials for immunization programmes in developing

 countries. Bull World Health Organ. 2003;81(10):726-31). Simply put, if a nation considers herself

 too impoverished to afford safer single-dose vaccines which do not contain mercury as

 preservative, it is better to recommend they accept the morbid risk of impaired neurodevelopment

 in their children than the mortal risk associated with such infections as hepatitis, tetanus, and

 diphtheria. And, of course, there is also the need to stabilize a sensitive global vaccine industry.

 It is not our intention to by any means discredit the NAFDAC or take up issues with her. This

 issue in question predates her by decades and there are several intimidating global players

 involved. Our overriding concern is that health products which are not acceptable for use in the

 manufacturer/donors’ own children cannot be good enough for our own children and grand

 children. We encourage NAFDAC to rather side with the Nigerian people and advise government

 on budgetary requirements to shift to the use of single-dose vials, or other upcoming innovations;

 such that Nigerians who require vaccines could continue to have them with at least the same

 relative safety enjoyed in other climes.

  Prof Joshua O. Ojo

 President/CEO, LivingScience Foundation, Ile-Ife

Ile-Ife, 3rd November, 2022

  “That Thy way may be known upon earth, Thy saving health among all nations” – Psalms 67:

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