The Federal Government has revealed that Nigeria has signed up with the World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi and manufacturers for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine.
According to a report from News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), this disclosure was made by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Enahire, while addressing the press at State House after the virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting which was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osibajo, on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
What the minister is saying
The minister said, “We have signed up with the World Health Organisation and Gavi for access to vaccines immediately they are available. But you know that these vaccines are new and are in packets and the producers are not given any indemnity.
“These countries where these vaccines are manufactured, have of course, given themselves the priority to serve themselves; serve their own citizens first and we hope that the pressure from the WHO and Gavi will be able to get reserves for other countries that are not manufacturing and they will be able to attend to what will be signed up to.
“We signed up for advanced market participation in Covax; so, if we will be able to get our own, I think it will be in January. But there are two types of vaccines; there are those that have to be in ultra-deep freezers – the MRA type of vaccines; that is the freezer that must give you Minus 80 per cent type of degree.’’
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Going further, Ehanire pointed out that there is a type that has to be in the deep freezer of minus 20 degrees and another type that can be in minus two degrees refrigerators. The one in regular refrigerators would be easy as they were available in Nigeria.
He said, “The one that will be in Minus 20 refrigerators is also going to be possible because we also have the freezers here but the one that will be in ultra-cold freezers, we hardly have ultra-cold freezers in this country and to receive and store in those ultra-cold freezers will require that you purchase the ultra-cold freezers.
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“So, we are working on the cost; which one shall we get first? Obviously, the one we can afford; remember that we have 200 million citizens; we need to have a way to be able to get enough to be able to take care of our citizens.
“So, that means we must be able to get the vaccines that work well, with good cost of storage and cost of delivery; that is the one we will like to get as soon as they are available. We also had bilateral discussions with manufacturers; some of them have written to us that they want to have discussions with us.’’
Ehanire said the ministry was looking at multiple sources and have had a conversation with United Arab Emirates.
What you should know
Gavi, the vaccine alliance, is an international organisation created in 2000 to improve access to new and underused vaccines for people in the world’s poorest countries.
Covax which was founded by WHO, European Commission and France in 2020, is a ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO. Its aim is to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world