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Coronavirus

Covid-19: Nigeria to get vaccines by January 2021 – Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Okonjo-Iweala has disclosed that negotiations are currently ongoing to get vaccines early enough to developing countries by January next year.

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WTO, Okonjo-Iweala joins South Africa's presidential economic advisory council as nation struggles with recession, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala officially declared candidate with the largest and broadest support among members

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance and World Trade Organization candidate for Directo-General, has disclosed that negotiations are currently going on with Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers to get vaccines early enough to developing countries including Nigeria from January next year.

Okonjo-Iweala disclosed this after a closed-door meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in Abuja on Wednesday.

Okonjo-Iweala, who is an African Union Special Envoy on mobilising international economic support for the continental fight against Covid-19, said in a statement that as long as people still have the virus, nobody was safe, even in developing nations.

“As long as one person has it in the world, no one is safe. And that is why poorer countries, lower-middle-income countries like Nigeria, need to get it as quickly as possible,” she said.

She added that the WHO had launched the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), alongside GAVI and other bodies to get vaccines delivered to developing nations when it became available, citing negotiations with vaccine manufacturers like Pfizer and AstraZeneca.

“So, the Pfizer vaccine, the AstraZeneca, those are being negotiated now so that poor countries don’t have to stand in line behind rich countries,” she said.

“So, we hope they are starting by the end of January. We will be able to reach these countries, including most of the African countries. Nigeria included will be able to get access to some of these vaccines.

“Initially, it will be for frontline health workers, followed by some other target groups – older people, those with underlying conditions and then, from there, the rest of the population. I think the COVAX facility can cover maybe 20-23 per cent of the population by the end of next year,” Okonjo-Iweala added.

What you should know 

  • Nairametrics reported last month that the Minister for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, had announced that Nigerians would benefit early from Covid-19 vaccines when the product was made available for commercial use.
  • The Federal Government also announced through the Ministry of Health, that it would inaugurate an 18-man Covid-19 Vaccine Task Team, in a bid to ensure vaccine security In Nigeria.

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Coronavirus

President Buhari, Osibanjo to take Covid-19 vaccine on Saturday

President Buhari and his Vice, Yemi Osinbajo will receive shots of AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccines on Saturday.

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The Federal Government has announced that President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, will receive shots of AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccines on Saturday to demonstrate vaccine safety to the public.

This follows the country’s receipt of the first batch of about 4 million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine under the COVAX initiative and the planned launch of the national vaccination campaign.

This disclosure was made by the Executive Director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, at the second edition of the State House briefing in Abuja on Thursday, which is focused on Nigeria’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the country’s national vaccination strategy.

He said that the exercise will boost the confidence of Nigerians to receive the about 4 million doses of AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine that arrived in the country 2 days ago.

Shuaib said, “The next step in the vaccination programme given that we’ve now received the vaccines is a launch that will be taking place at the National Hospital tomorrow. The time scheduled for that launch is 10 am. The launch will be conducted by the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, (Boss Mustapha).

“The plan is to vaccinate the frontline health workers that work in the treatment centre of the National Hospital, those will be the first people just like we’ve communicated that frontline health workers will be the first people to take the vaccines.

“Launch of National vaccination campaign will take place at the National Hospital Abuja, Friday, March 5, 2021, with Frontline health workers.

On Saturday, the plan is to vaccinate Mr President, Mr Vice-President and strategic leaders, to demonstrate vaccine safety to the public.

 Again, we are hopeful that when Nigerians see leaders like Mr President and Mr Vice-President take the vaccines; it will increase their confidence around the safety of the vaccines.

“As you are well aware that even before the vaccines arrived in Nigeria, there is a lot of hesitancy. It is a global phenomenon. Vaccine hesitancy is similar no matter where you are, you have to provide the right information and to those people who have questions, we cannot dismiss their cynicism.’’

The NPHCDA boss also said that state governments must certain requirements and obligations before the Covid-19 vaccines will be released to them.

He said, ‘’States have requirements and obligations to fulfil before the Covid vaccines will be released to them. They have to demonstrate they have taken steps to ensure proper storage, security, etc.’’

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that the much-awaited AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine arrived at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja around noon on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, onboard an Emirates airline.
  • The receipt of the 3.92 million doses of the vaccine is the first batch from the over 16 million doses allocated to Nigeria through the COVAX initiative, aimed at vaccinating about 20% of the population.

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Covid-19: Governors to discuss distribution of vaccines today

Governors of the 36 states of the federation will today meet to discuss the sharing formula for the recently delivered Covid-19 vaccine.

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Oil Price Crash: Governors to meet on budgetary and economic issues

The Nigerian Governors Forum has announced that all 36 Governors will meet today to discuss the distribution of the recently arrived 3.9 million Covid-19 vaccines through the COVAX programme.

This was disclosed by the NGF in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday by Mr Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, the Head, Media and Public Affairs of the NGF Secretariat.

The NGF disclosed that the meeting, which would be held virtually, will commence by 5 pm.

“The meeting is of a single-item agenda, which will discuss the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccines and their distribution in the country,” he said.

READ: More Nigerians don’t trust government, fear losing jobs more than COVID-19 – Report

What you should know

  • Nairametrics reported on Monday that 3.94 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport.
  • The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) also released guidelines on registering for Covid-19 vaccination in Nigeria.

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