Monday, March 1, 2021 10:47 pm
By Abujah Racheal
The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 says it is expecting three types of vaccines to cater to the needs of Nigerians.
The Minister of State for Health, Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora, gave the hint at the PTF briefing on COVID-19 on Monday in Abuja.
Mamora said that Nigeria has the option to increase supply if need be.
“For now, there will be no need for ungoverned private importation of vaccines,’’ The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quotes the minister as saying.
The minister said that vaccine deployment would be done by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) until further notice.
The minister that all manufacturers of vaccines would require an official indemnification to be able to administer their product in Nigeria.
Nigeria, Mamora added, has provided for the Covax facility.
“Vaccines from any other sources must first have NAFDAC’s Emergency Use Authorisation and they are not covered under the indemnification arrangement.
“Such vaccines will be illegal and, therefore, subject to be impounded by NAFDAC and Customs.
“All vaccines coming into Nigeria will arrive only through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja,’’ he said.
He warned that arrival vaccines at any other airport will not be allowed but will be confiscated by the Nigeria Customs.
He noted that it was important to have an orderly, disciplined rollout to avoid chaos in the immunisation scene.
“As the expected first batch of COVID vaccines from the COVAX facility arrives from Mumbai to Nigeria, all plans and arrangements have been finalised to ensure a hitch free rollout of vaccination.
“Such arrangements included training of health workers, secured logistics and cold chain equipment to receive vaccines in all wards of the federation.
“The vaccines will be received at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport and delivered to the National Strategic Cold Store (NSCS), Abuja where inspection and quality testing will be conducted by NAFDAC and due documentation and certification done.’’
Mamora said that the government would begin the roll out with the vaccination of frontline health workers, who are the first line of defence.
“Our goal is to introduce the COVID-19 vaccine in a phased, equitable manner and ultimately vaccinate all eligible Nigerians within the next two years to ensure herd immunity.
“The World Health Organisation recommendation is not to vaccinate persons under 18 years of age, until more scientific data is available on any effects on growing children,’’ he said.
The minister said that there were countries experiencing the third wave, after surviving the second phase, “a reason for us to beware’’.
“We have just marked the first year since the first case of COVID-19 was imported to Nigeria on Feb. 27, 2020.
“The health sector in Lagos did a fantastic job of identifying the individual, tracing 69 contacts and isolating one other person along with the index case.
“Since then, we have confirmed a total of 155,657 other infections, overwhelmingly by community transmission, of which 133,768 have been treated and discharged.
“As in most countries of the world, our health system has been stretched over the past year and the resilience of our people tested, as have been the commitment and dedication of our health workers, some of whom unfortunately became infected in the line of duty.
“We are relieved that our health has survived the stress up to date and we must thank God also for the lives of all Nigerians, who have survived COVID-19 infection.’’
The minister added that Nigeria has sadly lost 1,907 people, comprising fathers, mothers, grandparents, brothers, sisters, cousins and friends, all very dear to us to the disease.