The first of many freezer-packed COVID-19 vaccine vials made their way to distribution sites across the United States on Sunday.
The rollout of the Pfizer vaccine, the first to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, ushers in the biggest vaccination effort in U.S. history.
Sunday workers at Pfizer dressed in fluorescent yellow clothing, hard hats and gloves — wasted no time as they packed vials into boxes. They scanned the packages and then placed them into freezer cases with dry ice.
The vaccines were then taken from Pfizer’s Portage, Michigan facility to Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, where the first cargo plane took off amid what airport officials called a “jubilant” mood.
Tracked with GPS-enabled sensors, the initial shipments were expected to contain about 3 million doses, with many more to come. Federal officials say the first shipments of Pfizer’s vaccine will be staggered, arriving in 145 distribution centres today, with another 425 sites getting shipments Tuesday, and the remaining 66 on Wednesday.
Doses of the vaccine, co-developed by German partner, BioNTech, are given out based on each state’s adult population. Then, the states decide where they go first.
Despite the breakthrough, it is understood that some individuals are not interested in the vaccine, which raises concerns. For example, a survey from The Associated Press – NORC Centre for Public Affairs Research, found that about half of Americans want to get the vaccine as soon as possible. Another quarter aren’t sure, while the remaining quarter say they aren’t interested.
Some simply oppose vaccines in general. Others are concerned that the vaccines have been rushed and want to see how the rollout goes.
- Speaking to Fox News Sunday, Dr. Moncef Slaoui, Chief Science Adviser to Operation Warp Speed, a U.S. effort to get vaccines developed quickly, also said he is “very concerned” about the scepticism about the vaccine in some circles.
- Initial surveys have found that even some health care workers don’t want to be first in line.
- Graham Snyder, who’s led the vaccine task force at Pennsylvania health care giant, UPMC, estimates that only about half of its employees are willing to get the vaccine as soon as it’s offered.
In an effort to convince people about the efficacy and authenticity of the vaccine:
- Stephen Hahn, Commissioner of the FDA, which approved the Pfizer vaccine Friday, has repeatedly insisted that the agency’s decision was based on science not politics, despite a White House threat to fire him if the vaccine wasn’t approved before Saturday.
- Slaoui added that regarding “the confusion between how thorough and scientific and factual the work that has been done is, and the perception that people are thinking that we cut corners; I can guarantee you that no such things have happened, that we follow the science.”
What they are saying
“This is a historic day,” said Richard W. Smith, who oversees operations in the Americas for FedEx Express, which is delivering 630-some packages of vaccine to distribution sites across the country.
Helping with the transport of the vaccine has special meaning to Bruce Smith, a FedEx package handler at the Grand Rapids airport, whose older sister, Queen, died after she contracted the coronavirus in May. She was hospitalized in Georgia one day after he saw her on a video chat, and they never spoke again.
“I think she would be ecstatic to know that something that has ravaged our family — that a family member is going to be part of such a big project,” said Smith, 58, whose nephew, Queen’s son, also got sick and is still undergoing therapy for stroke-like symptoms. “It is very, very important.”
What you should know
- Health officials hope the American public will embrace, even as some have voiced initial scepticism or worry.
- Shots are expected to be given to health care workers and nursing home residents beginning Monday.
- Quick transport is key for the vaccine, especially since this one must be stored at extremely low temperatures – about 94 degrees below zero.
According to worldometer
- US’ pandemic deaths stands at a horrifying new milestone of 306,459 as of today.
- There are concerns that a second wave of Covid-19 is happening globally.
- Worldwide, there are 72.65 million confirmed cases as of today.
- Deaths amount to 1.62 million as of today.
- Daily cases have continued to rise since March.
- Daily deaths have surged since the last decline in October.
According to Nairametrics Covid-19 tracker
- Confirmed cases in Nigeria stands at 73.18 thousand as of 13th December.
- Active cases stand at 5.9 thousand.
- Daily deaths stand at 1.20 thousand.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 2nd of March 2021, 479 new confirmed cases and 8 deaths were 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 156,496 confirmed cases.
On the 2nd of March 2021, 479 new confirmed cases and 8 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.
To date, 156,496 cases have been confirmed, 134,551 cases have been discharged and 1,923 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
A total of 1.54 million tests have been carried out as of March 2nd, 2021 compared to 1.49 million tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 2nd March 2021,
- Total Number of Cases – 156,496
- Total Number Discharged – 135,136
- Total Deaths – 1,923
- Total Tests Carried out – 1,544,008
According to the NCDC, the 479 new cases are reported from 22 states- Lagos (153), Enugu (75), Rivers (50), FCT (40), Kaduna (18), Ebonyi (17), Plateau (17), Edo (17), Borno (16), Oyo (12) Kano (11), Abia (10), Cross River (10), Taraba (9), Nasarawa (7), Bauchi (4), Bayelsa (3), Delta (3), Ekiti (2), Niger (2), Ogun (2) and Akwa Ibom (1).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 56,001, followed by Abuja (19,274), Plateau (8,911), Kaduna (8,531), Oyo (6,746), Rivers (6,544), Edo (4,607), Ogun (4,398), Kano (3,764), Ondo (2,983), Kwara (2,931), Delta (2,576), Osun (2,433), Nasarawa (2,234), Enugu (2,078), Gombe (2,051), Katsina (2,030), Ebonyi (1,881), Anambra (1,726), and Abia (1,530).
Akwa Ibom has recorded 1,519 cases, Imo (1,497), Borno (1,292), Bauchi (1,232), Benue (1,188), Niger (917), Taraba (813), Ekiti (804), Bayelsa (772), Sokoto (769), Adamawa (762), Jigawa (496), Kebbi (377), Cross River (334), Yobe (268), Zamfara (219), 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.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State announced the closed down of the Eti-Osa Isolation Centre, with effect from Friday, 31st July 2020. He also mentioned that the Agidingbi Isolation Centre would also be closed and the patients relocated to a large capacity centre.
Due to the increased number of covid-19 cases in Nigeria, the Nigerian government ordered the reopening of Isolation and treatment centres in the country on Thursday, 10th December 2020.
On 26th January 2021, the Federal Government announced the extension of the guidelines of phase 3 of the eased lockdown by one month following the rising cases of the coronavirus disease in the country and the expiration of phase 3 of the eased lockdown.
On 28th February 2021, the federal government confirmed that the first tranche of Covid-19 vaccines will arrive in Nigeria on Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021.
Peter Obi urges FG to beg manufacturers, rich nations for COVID-19 vaccines
Obi urged the FG to consider appealing to rich nations, drug manufacturers for vaccines instead of spending billions of nairas to procure them.
Former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi has appealed to the Federal Government to take a second look at their stipulated Covid-19 budget and rather, consider begging drug manufacturers and rich nations for the vaccines.
The former Vice Presidential candidate while speaking in an interview on Channels Television, lamented on what he felt was an over-the-top and ludicrous budget for the Covid-19 vaccines and advised that the FG should instead, appeal to manufacturers for the vaccine.
Obi, speaking on the FG Procurement Budget for the Covid-19 vaccine explained that it makes little sense for Nigeria to apportion 80% of its health budget for the procurement of Covid-19 only. He also stated that sufficient Covid-19 vaccine for the country can be purchased for a price way below the figure being put forward by the FG.
“They said they need N400bn. Our Budget for health this year is N547bn and you are saying that you need 80% of that for vaccine procurement. Assuming that’s what we are going to use the money for. I have checked the vaccine we need to have 70% which WHO has stipulated that if they receive it is okay. The quantity we need cannot cost us more than N150bn. It might be less because there are people who are willing to give vaccines for free,” Obi said.
Mr. Obi took it a step further by advising the FG on how to go about the quest to get Covid-19 vaccines at a much cheaper rate. He believes the country should own up to its poor status and demand for help unashamedly. This, he said, will reduce the amount the FG will pay for the Covid-19 vaccines.
“Why don’t we beg manufacturers to donate, saying to them that we don’t have anything. We can go kneel and beg them saying please give us the vaccines. We are from a poor country. Give us a discount. There is nothing wrong with saying that you are poor. It is not a crime. Because you are poor,” Obi added.
Since pharmaceutical companies and drug manufacturers began discovering and manufacturing vaccines against the novel Covid-19, there have been concerns that the poorer nations might be left far behind in the race to acquire the vaccines.
In case you missed it
- Nigeria received its first batch of Covid 19 vaccines from India today. The first batch of Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines from India landed in the Nigerian capital Abuja on Tuesday.
- About 3.94 million doses of the vaccines arrived at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja via an Emirates flight.
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