Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, has stated the set of people prioritised to first receive COVID-19 vaccine when it is eventually available in the country.
Shuaib spoke during the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said those to have priority are the frontline health care workers, strategic leaders, and the vulnerable that include the elderly and those with underlying medical condition.
“They will be among those to be prioritised for vaccination,” Shuaib said.
The Federal Government says about 82 million Nigerians will be vaccinated this year when the approved COVID-19 vaccines are made available.
This is even as it noted that 42 million doses of vaccines from the COVAX facility of the World Health Organisation is being expected, and another 100,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine is expected by the end of January.
Speaking on the COVAX facility, Shuaib explained that it is a platform that guarantees vaccine access to participating countries like Nigeria.
“As a result of the pandemic in the year 2020, many countries and economies invested heavily in developing candidate vaccines.
“The vaccines developed were from Pfizer, Modena and Oxford and AstraZeneca.
“The COVAX facility has 192 participating countries, including Nigeria.
“This platform is the mainstay of our expected access to safe and effective vaccines.
“The COVAX facility has in the portfolio the following approved vaccines – Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna and the Oxford-AstraZeneca, including hundreds of candidate vaccines still in development.
“The African Union has also set up an African Vaccine Acquisition (AVAC) task team to provide an all-African approach to negotiation for more vaccines from developing countries and pharmaceutical companies,” the NPHCDA director stated.
Continuing, he said, “However, apart from the COVAX facility and the AVAC approach, Nigeria is also involved in multiple conversations with the governments of Russia, United Arab Emirates, and India, to access their candidate vaccines.
“Moving forward, any of these aforementioned that have not received certification for emergency use authorisation will be predicated on the transparently sharing results of their clinical trials and approval by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).”
“Concerning the timeline for access to these vaccines, in the first phase, through the COVAX facility, we expect to receive approximately 100,000 doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine by the end of January.”
Shuaib revealed that a letter announcing the allocation is being expected from the COVAX facility, adding, “In the second phase, also through the COVAX facility, Nigeria is expected to secure free delivery of 42 million doses of vaccines which will be a combination of all the available and approved vaccines currently in the market.
“This is expected to cover about 20 per cent of the population.”
He urged Nigerians not to disregard non-pharmaceutical interventions that include the use of facemask, social distancing, hand washing, regular use of hand sanitisers, among others specified by relevant health agencies as safety measures against COVID-19 infection.
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