The African Union has secured 270 million Covid-19 vaccine doses for the continent from drug manufacturers to supplement the COVAX programme, a step towards the commencement of the complex task of vaccinating over 1.2 billion people with limited financial resources.
Drugmakers Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson will provide the vaccines, of which 50 million doses will be made available for the crucial period, between April and June 2021.
This disclosure was made through a statement by the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also the Chairman of the African Union, on Wednesday.
Ramaphosa said that arrangements had been made with the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) to provide support to member states who want to have access to the vaccines.
Upon receipt of firm orders from member states, Afreximbank is expected to provide advance procurement commitment guarantees of up to $2 billion to the manufacturers.
Going further, the South African President said, “There is also close collaboration between the AU team and the World Bank to ensure that member states are able to access about $5 billion either to buy more vaccines or pay for the delivery of vaccines committed on their behalf by Afreximbank.
“These endeavours aim to supplement the COVAX efforts, and to ensure that as many dosages of the vaccine as possible become available throughout Africa as soon as possible.”
He pointed out that although the World Health Organization co-led COVAX initiative was very crucial to Africa’s response to the pandemic, the Africa Union was concerned that the COVAX volumes to be released between February and June would be inadequate and may not go beyond catering for the needs of frontline health care workers.
What you should know
- While several wealthy economies around the world pre-ordered vaccines ahead of regulatory approval and have now started rollouts, concerns have been raised that Africa, which has recorded at least 3.1 million infections and about 74,600 deaths over the course of the pandemic, would be left behind.
- This happens to be a fraction of the global figure of more than 91 million cases, although it is believed that some of the figures might be distorted due to less reliable reporting methods.
FG says N10 billion disbursed funds not only for Covid-19 vaccines
FG has clarified that the N10 billion it earlier disbursed was not only for the development of Covid-19 vaccines.
The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning has said that the N10 billion it released for vaccine development is not only for the production of Covid-19 vaccines.
This was disclosed by the Director-General of the Budget Office, Mr. Ben Akabueze, representing the Finance Minister during a meeting with the National Assembly Joint Committee on Health on Monday, reported by NTA.
Following the announcement of the disbursement of the sum of N10 billion to the Ministry of Health for the development of Covid-19 vaccine, the Joint Committee scheduled a meeting with the Ministers of Finance and Health for clarifications on the funds.
“The joint committee is invited to note that N10 billion has been released, to the Federal Ministry of Health under the budgetary vote referenced in above,” Akabueze said.
Ibrahim Oloriegbe, Chairman, Senate Committee on health, said the Committee wanted to know what the use of the funds was for and urged against the implementation of a lockdown.
“We got to see that what was released was in line with what was already there, for preparing the country for all other vaccines arrangements
“So our economy, we only need to live with covid, we cannot with due respect, contaminate Nigeria with a lockdown, it will badly affect our economy,” Oloriegbe said.
The committee also said the total aim is to see how Nigeria can develop its capacity towards the development of vaccines,
The Joint Committee, therefore, resolved that the Minister of Health who was absent at the meeting should appear before it on Tuesday for a breakdown on the proposed use of the funds.
What you should know: Nairametrics reported last week that the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Finance, announced the sum of N10billion for the production of vaccines in Nigeria, to fight the coronavirus.
Covid-19: U.S. donates field hospital worth $1.3m to Nigeria
The United States of America has donated a field hospital worth $1.3 million to Nigeria.
The United States has donated field hospital worth $1.3 million to Nigeria.
The U.S. has donated field hospital worth $1.3 million to Nigeria, in a bid to further contain the spread of Covid-19 cases and its related deaths.
According to a report by The Nation, the field hospital is located at the Federal Medical Centre in Jabi, Abuja.
The facility contains four fully equipped, negative pressure isolation facilities with the capacity to house up to 40 patients, an administrative unit, a 160-kw auxiliary generator, as well as other support equipment such as beds, sub-floors, showers and lavatories.
The facility was donated to the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health by the United States Department of Defence’s U.S. Africa Command, with support from the U.S. Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR).
The facility was manufactured and built in the US by Alaska Structures, while a team of Nigerians assembled it in Abuja.
The facility was commissioned by the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora and the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Mary Beth Leonard.
What they are saying
Ambassador Leonard noted that:
“As we celebrate 60 years of U.S.-Nigeria diplomatic relations, and many years of health partnerships, it is deeply satisfying to look back on the many ways we have worked together to improve the health, safety and security of the Nigerian people,
“Supporting the healthcare workers who are caring for patients at this facility and across the country, is critical to Nigeria’s effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.”
What you should know
According to Nairametrics Covid-19 tracker, as of Monday 25th January 2021
- The total number of cases stood at 122,996.
- The total number of death stood at 1,507.
- The total number of tests conducted stood at 1,270,523.
Covid-19: FG extends phase 3 eased lockdown by one month
The FG has announced the extension of the guidelines of phase 3 of the eased lockdown by one month.
The Federal Government has announced the extension of the guidelines of phase 3 of the eased lockdown by one month with effect from Tuesday, January 26, 2021.
This follows the rising cases of coronavirus disease across the country and the expiration of phase 3 of the eased lockdown.
This disclosure was made by the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, at the national briefing of the task force in Abuja on Monday, January 25, 2021.
Mustapha said that over the last few weeks, the PTF had been closely following the rising number of infections reported daily in Nigeria and in other jurisdictions.
He stated that the daily statistics for Nigeria as at January 24, indicated that cases were 121,566, with about 1,270,523 tests conducted so far. The active cases were 22,834, which is about 19.4%, with 1,504 casualties and 97,228 patients discharged.
He also said that over 7 days ending January 23, the statistics showed that tests conducted were 58,974 while cases recorded were 11,179, with 62 deaths and 23,568 active cases.
What the Chairman of PTF on Covid-19 is saying
While speaking on phase 3 eased lockdown, Mustapha said the PTF is reviewing the guidelines on the implementation of phase 3 of the eased lockdown which is due to expire on Monday, January 25, 2021.
He said, “In view of the fact that our numbers are not abating, all extant measures prescribed in these guidelines are (subject to some modifications) extended by a period of one month with effect from Tuesday, January 26.’’
On PTF’s management of Covid-19, the PTF chairman said, “The management of cases is gradually improving with the availability of medical oxygen. Government is also fast-tracking the rehabilitation of existing plants and construction of new ones as approved by the President.
“The PTF has advanced in the deployment of resources for the national testing week and continues to review the bottlenecks affecting the turnaround time for testing.
“The PTF is improving on the International Travel Portal to minimise the challenges passengers keep encountering,” he said.
He also said the country is expected to take the delivery of 100,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine in early February with assurances that the vaccines will be safe and effective when eventually deployed.
What you should know
- The Federal Government had in September 2020, announced the easing of lockdown guidelines for phase 3 due to a drop in the number of Covid-19 infections across the country.
- However, following, a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases across the country with a record number of daily infections recorded, the Federal Government in collaboration with the State Governments has moved to ensure the strict enforcement of the Covid-19 protocols and guidelines to curb its spread.