The Federal Ministry of Health in Nigeria will on Tuesday, 19th January 2021, hold a National Vaccine Conference, as part of its preparations, to mobilize experts, role players, Development Partners and stakeholders to create a unified and strategic front for the provision and vaccination of Nigerians against COVID 19.
According to the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, the Conference will also provide a platform for deliberation on the nation’s “COVID-19 response strategy especially at this time of spike in cases.”
Ehanire who stated this on Monday at the national briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, said the Ministry will engage other Federal Ministry of Health agencies, especially National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), State governments, on plans for vaccines distribution.
He added that Religious, Traditional and community leaders will also be engaged “since their role is critical to the orderly and successful deployment.”
The Minister also stated that the Government is hopeful that the first consignment of COVID-19 vaccines will arrive in the country in some weeks.
He explained the apart from the COVAX facility, which is billed to cover vaccination of just 20% of the nation’s population, the Government is also planning to increase its chances of getting enough vaccines to meet the country’s need to cover an additional 50% of the population.
Speaking further, he said: “Nigeria is participating in the African Union initiative called ‘African Vaccine Availability Task Team’, which reports directly to the African Union Chairman, President Ramaphosa of South Africa, and has secured options for 270 million doses of various types of vaccines.
“Bearing in mind options suitable for our environment and our available infrastructure, as well as Investment in delivery, Nigeria has written to express interest in 10 million doses of the viral vector vaccine, which could be supplied as from March 2021.
“This vaccine does not require deep freezers,” he noted.
The Minister added: “While the prospect of a vaccine arriving soon is cheering, the importance of non-pharmaceutical measures remain critical to prevent infections.
“Wear your face masks, wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitisers, avoid close contacts and crowded places and if you have symptoms like cough, difficulty in breathing, sudden loss of taste and smell and fever, please get tested.”