Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, says the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) has informed his ministry of the free allocation of 1.4 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to Nigeria.
Speaking at the press briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 on Monday, Ehanire said 500,000 doses of the vaccine are expected in Nigeria by the end of February.
He disclosed that Nigeria got the allocation courtesy of MTN donation of 7 million doses to Africa.
The minister added that the balance of 900,000 doses for Nigeria is expected by the end of March 2021.
Ehanire also disclosed that India informed him of its intention to gift 100,000 AstraZeneca or covishield vaccine doses to Nigeria.
He maintained that relevant agencies must approve the use of vaccines before they can be used in Nigeria because all COVID-19 vaccines “carry a certain amount of risk”.
“The National Agency For Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has received dossiers for Sputnik V vaccine of Russia, Covishield or Astra Zeneca manufactured under license by Serum Institute of India, Covaxin by Bharat vaccines of India and the Sinopharm Vaccine of China, for evaluation and validation for use in Nigeria. Some of them are nearly ready for results,” the minister said.
“It is important to stress that all COVID-19 vaccines carry a certain amount of risk and any vaccines not approved by the Federal Ministry of Health through its Agencies cannot be used in Nigeria.
“The government will not be responsible for the safety or efficacy of vaccines given outside the framework of the Government. All the needs of Nigeria have been carefully calculated by NPHCDA and it is possible to accommodate all interests in the framework.
“I received a message from His Excellency the High Commissioner of India, giving 100,000 AstraZeneca or covishield vaccine doses, also by the Serum Institute of India, as a gift of the Government of India to Nigeria. These gestures of goodwill and partnership are appreciated by the people of Nigeria.
“With regard to the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, AVATT, Nigeria this morning completed her account opening, signed by two officials each, of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance, Budget & National Planning, at Afrexim Bank as a requirement for access to vaccines on that platform, which will give Nigeria access to a much larger portfolio and variety of vaccines.
“Among the vaccines are the Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccine and as much of the Pfizer mRNA vaccines as we can manage. The covid19 Vaccine Coordinatiing Committee and NPHCDA’s strategy for vaccine delivery will advise the mix of vaccines that Nigeria will acquire.”