The United States, On Wednesday, revealed that the country is likely to have enough safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines available to inoculate the most vulnerable Americans by the end of 2020.
The U.S. government is cautiously optimistic that one or two vaccines, likely from Pfizer Inc or Moderna Inc, will be available by the end of the year, and can begin to be distributed to Americans, officials said during a news conference.
This was disclosed by the US Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, on Wednesday, October 22, 2020.
Azar said he expected that all seniors, healthcare workers, and first responders would be able to receive vaccines as soon as January, with the rest of the American public able to get vaccines by April.
Companies participating in the U.S. government’s effort to develop vaccines for COVID-19, dubbed “Operation Warp Speed”, have begun developing manufacturing capabilities even before any vaccination has been authorized by regulators.
Nairametrics had reported that in an open letter, the Chief Executive Officer of Pfizer Inc, Albert Bourla, disclosed that it could seek emergency authorization to use the COVID-19 vaccine in the US by late November, after the US Presidential election.
The coronavirus outbreak has been worsening in recent weeks as cold weather pushes Americans indoors, raising the chance of contracting the virus. Some 38 U.S. states and two territories have reported rising case counts. More than 8 million Americans have been infected with the novel coronavirus and more than 200,000 have died.
What this means
This announcement rules out the assertion by US President, Donald Trump, that a COVID-19 vaccine would be ready before the Presidential election. However, this news is still a huge boost for the country, which has been one of the most hit globally from the pandemic.
COVID-19: CACOVID spent N43.27 billion to support 3 key priorities – CBN
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has revealed that the Coalition Alliance Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) has so far incurred an expenditure of N43.27billion on the acquisition of, not only medical equipment and supplies but also food palliatives for vulnerable Nigerians.
The recent press release noted that the funds raised by CACOVID was used to support 3 key priorities – Medical facilities and equipment, food relief programs and communications plans.
The breakdown of the expenditure in the aforementioned areas are:
- Medical Facilities and equipment: In collaboration with other stakeholders, CACOVID developed 39 fully equipped isolation centers across the 36 States of the Country including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The sum of N4.19billion was spent in Building Isolation Centers. In addition, medical equipment such as PCR test kits for suspected cases of COVID-19 were procured along with other required medical items at a cost of N9.02billion.
- Food relief programs: As a way of cushioning the impact of the lockdown on vulnerable citizens, CACOVID provided palliatives in the form of essential food items to 1.7million households, which is equivalent to supporting 8 million Nigerians. A total of N28.76billion was spent procuring these food supplies.
- Communication plans: CACOVID also worked to improve awareness in rural communities on the COVID-19 virus, and the measures community health workers and other members of society should take when someone in the community is suspected of having symptoms similar to that of COVID-19. In lieu of this, expenses were incurred on Print, TV, radio, and social media as part of CACOVID communication plans.
Why this matters
The recent disclosure is in line with the principle of accountability and transparency, as the organization seeks to lay bare facts regarding expenditure incurred so far; thereby, nipping in the bud, suspicions and unfounded rumor.
What you should know
Due to the sudden global health challenge (COVID-19), which wreaked havoc on most economies of the world, coupled with declining oil prices and declined government revenue; the Bankers Committee, comprising the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Deposit Money Banks, as well as key stakeholders in the private sector came together to set up an alliance in March 2020, known as the Coalition Alliance Against COVID-19 (CACOVID).
The ultimate objective is working with the government to provide support in areas that would result in improved health and welfare for vulnerable Nigerians.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 24th of November 2020, 168 new confirmed cases and 1 death was recorded in Nigeria
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 66,607 confirmed cases.
On the 24th of November 2020, 168 new confirmed cases and 1 death was recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 5,838 samples across the country.
To date, 66,607 cases have been confirmed, 62,311 cases have been discharged and 1,169 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 749,136 tests have been carried out as of November 24th, 2020 compared to 743,298 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 24th November 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 66,607
- Total Number Discharged – 62,311
- Total Deaths – 1,169
- Total Tests Carried out – 749,136
According to the NCDC, the 168 new cases were reported from 10 states- FCT (61), Lagos (50), Kaduna (27), Oyo (12), Rivers (6), Katsina (5), Ogun (3), Kwara (2), Edo (1), Kano (1).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 23,018, followed by Abuja (6,576), Plateau (3,805), Oyo (3,715), Rivers (2,963), Kaduna (2,940), Edo (2,695), Ogun (2,156), Delta (1,823), Kano (1,777), Ondo (1,727), Enugu (1,332), Kwara (1,095), Ebonyi (1,055), Katsina (1,012), Osun (945), Gombe (938). Abia (926), Bauchi (753), and Borno (745).
Imo State has recorded 662 cases, Benue (493), Nasarawa (485), Bayelsa (445), Ekiti (354), Jigawa (328), Akwa Ibom (319), Niger (296), Anambra (285), Adamawa (261), Sokoto (165), Taraba (157), Yobe (94), Kebbi (93), Cross River (90), Zamfara (79), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.
COVID-19: FG to inaugurate 18-man vaccine task team
FG has announced plans to set up an 18-man Covid-19 Vaccine Task Team with the responsibility to acquire and deploy vaccines in the country.
The Federal Government has announced through the Ministry of Health, that it will inaugurate an 18-man Covid-19 Vaccine Task Team, in a bid to ensure vaccine security In Nigeria.
This was disclosed on Monday by the Health Minister, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, during the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in Abuja.
He revealed that the need for a task force comes as vaccines would be made available globally. The responsibilities of the task force include the acquisition and deployment of vaccines in the country.
“Now that vaccines are known to be close at hand, the Federal Ministry of Health is taking measures toward vaccine security, for which an 18-man National COVID-19 Vaccine Task Team with seven Terms of Reference (ToR) will be inaugurated.
“The ToR will include generating strategies for acquisition, deployment, and options for licensed production by Biovaccine Nigeria Ltd.
“Our options with WHO/GAVI led Covax facility remains our first line of engagement,” he added.
What you should know
After news of the Pfizer vaccine went viral, Nairametrics reported that the Health Minister, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said Nigerians will benefit early from COVID-19 vaccines when the product is made available for commercial use. He revealed that any vaccine that is deemed fit for commercial use in treating coronavirus will be made available early to Nigerians.
Nairametrics also reported plans by the Nigerian government to set up a vaccine production company in Nigeria to boost local COVID-19 vaccine production.
The G-20 nations announced a pledge to pay for vaccine distribution to developing nations that can’t afford it. The leaders also announced a debt extension programme to developing nations during the weekend’s G-20 summit.