Dr Osagie Ehanire the Nigerian Minister of Health, said that the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), is presently looking at Russia’s Sputnik V and India’s Covax vaccines against the COVID-19 virus.
Dr Osagie Ehanire said these at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 briefing that took place in Abuja.
He added that Nigeria has kept along with the development of the COVID-19 vaccines and stands with the World Health Organisation (WHO) for a fair and equitable distribution of vaccines
Nigeria thus far Advocates two vaccine access; the first is the Covax facility in Russia which will supply vaccines for free to its members and thus the vaccine would cover 20 per cent of our population.
The primary wave of 100,000 vaccines would be derived from the Covax facility. More recently a development that now offers Nigeria 16 million vaccine doses in the first half of the year has come up.
The secondary is the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team AVATT, which is being led by the, Mr Ramaphosa, President of South Africa.
According to Dr Osagie Ehanire, AVATT has 300 million doses of three types of COVID-19 vaccines which have been offered to African countries, based on population, in such a way that no country is left behind.
Nigeria champions this approach that ensures that we are safe and our neighbours are safe. He stated that Nigeria shall be offered about 42 million doses by AVATT. Should all these vaccines be supplied, Nigeria should have covered over 45 per cent of the population.
Nigeria has an agreement with The Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology of Russia over its vaccine, which they are willing to provide to Nigeria.This vaccine has an effectiveness of about 90 per cent.
Nigeria is in talks with the High Commissioner of India over the Covax vaccine of Barhat Institute. Both vaccines reports are being assessed by NAFDAC.
The repair of two Oxygen plants at the National Hospital Abuja has brought an increase in oxygen availability. This began through the Federal Government intervention and the commendable intervention of the Private Sector.
This has ensured that oxygen cylinders are delivered to treatment centres as needed. The repair of the oxygen plant has improved availability of oxygen for the management of critical COVID-19 cases and also the treatment of other illnesses that depend upon oxygen supplementation he said.
Dr Osagie Ehanire in response to the news that Nigeria was disqualified from vaccine allocation by WHO, he said I must ask that people disregard the news over the weekend that Nigeria was ‘disqualified’ from a vaccine allocation.
This is not true, Nigeria has ultracold (minus 80oC) freezers in some stores in Lagos, Abuja and Bauchi, with space that can hold over 400,000 doses of vaccines, even more than the 320,000 doses WHO Afro had offered .
He added that those vaccines are been reserved for countries with extremely high COVID-19 numbers, to which Nigeria did not belong to.
Nigeria has made plans to begin implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination and address any shortfall in financing an early rollout activity.