Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health, says Nigerians will receive COVID-19 vaccine by January.
Ehanire, who disclosed this to journalists at the end of Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council meeting, said a technical working group in the ministry had been working to determine which vaccine would be best suited for Nigerians.
Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire.
He said the council also approved the setting up of modern and comprehensive cancer treatment centres in Maiduguri and to improve NAFDAC’s mobility.
Ehanire said, “A technical working group is working on the question on vaccines. We have signed up with the World Health Organisation and the GAVI Alliance 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 giving any indemnity. These countries where these vaccines are manufactured, have of course, given themselves the priority to serve themselves, serve their citizens first and we hope that the pressure from the World Health Organisation and GAVI will be able to get reserves for other countries that are not manufacturing. 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. Some have to be in ultra-deep freezers – the mRNA type of vaccines. That is the freezer that must give you a minus 80 per cent type of degree.
“There is another type that has to be in the deep freezer of minus 20 degrees which is a deep freezer, and there is another type that can be in minus 2 degrees refrigerators. This is the regular refrigerator. The one that will be in regulator refrigerators is easy. We have them here.
“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.
“So, we are working on the cost. Which one shall we get first? 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 the good cost of storage and cost of delivery. That is the one we will like to get as soon as they are available.”
SaharaReporters, New York