We expect COVID-19 vaccine by January – Minister

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, on Wednesday said Nigeria should take delivery of COVID-19 vaccine by January 2021.

He said a committee set up for that purpose was already working with a view to deciding the kind of vaccine that would be suitable for Nigeria.

Ehanire disclosed this in an interview with State House correspondents after the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.

He said Nigeria had signed up with the World Health Organisation and the GAVI Alliance for access to vaccines immediately they are available.

The minister said, “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 different 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 -80 percent type of degree.

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“There is another type that has to be in the deep freezer of -20 degree which is a deep freezer and there is another type that can be in -2 degree refrigerators. This is the regular refrigerator.

“The one that will be in regular refrigerators is easy. We have them here. The one that will be in -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? 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.

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“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.”

Ehanire said Nigerians must wake up to the reality that the much-talked about second wave of COVID-19 is manifesting in the country already.

He urged Nigerians to continue to comply with the non-pharmaceutical measures released by the government.

The council approved the procurement of essential drugs for HIV-AIDS treatment and equipment for cancer treatment for University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.

Approvals were also given for the construction of an 11-storey building to serve as headquarters of the Department of Petroleum Resources in Abuja.

The meeting also received the last batch of reports from ministers on #EndSARS interactions in their states.

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