Dr. Olurunnimbe Mamora, Honourable Minister of State for Health

COVID-19: Why Nigeria has not bought virus vaccines ─Health Minister

*Once the Federal Government determines which vaccines are accessible and affordable, then authorities have to consider storage and distribution issues as they prepare to give shots to 200 million Nigerians ─Dr. Olurunnimbe Mamora, Minister of State for Health

*The West African country recorded 1,867 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, January 15, making it the highest daily record ever, with total virus cases estimated at 107,345 and 1, 413 deaths since the outbreak of the disease in the country

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

With reference to how certain African countries have initiated and pushed discussions for beneficial deals with the leading COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers amid surging virus cases in Nigeria, the Federal Government has disclosed reasons why the authorities have not bought any COVID-19 vaccines yet.

Dr. Olurunnimbe Mamora, Honourable Minister of State for Health, in a phone interview, said Africa’s most populous nation is still assessing the prices of different shots, their availability and the logistics required in a nationwide roll-out, according to Bloomberg.

The Minister clarified that once the government determines which vaccines are accessible and affordable, authorities then have to consider storage and distribution issues as they prepare to give shots to 200 million people.

Mamora said: “We haven’t made any purchases at this point in time.

“We’re not restricting ourselves to a particular vaccine. We’ll be guided by a lot of factors.”

Report stated that an ambitious plan to immunise as much as 40 percent of the country’s population this year has been put into question by experts and officials, who said the government lacks the resources and infrastructure in “a country plagued by daily power outages, derelict roads and bridges.”

Faisal Shuaib, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Thursday was quoted to have stated the country expects to receive 100,000 doses of Pfizer Inc.’s shot at the end of January through the Covax initiative.

Shuaib, in an interview, stated that Nigeria has secured services for ultra-cold storage facilities to keep and distribute the vaccines.

Although the number of infections in Africa has paled in comparison to other regions, a spike in cases has raised fears the pathogen could be spreading more rapidly in a continent ill-prepared for it.

Hospitals across Africa, from Senegal to Nigeria and Zimbabwe, are reportedly struggling with a surge in infections that’s overwhelming health facilities that already lack beds, basic equipment and staff.

The Nigerian Government’s clarification on the purchase and importation of COVID-19 vaccines becomes more significant in view of the alleged ‘fake vaccines’ in the country.

The authorities Friday, January 15 warned against the circulation of fake Coronavirus vaccines, as the country expects 10 million real doses of the shots March 2021.

Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug and Administration Control (NAFDAC), in a virtual conference, said: “There are reports of fake vaccines in Nigeria. NAFDAC is pleading with the public to beware. No COVID Vaccines have been approved by NAFDAC.

“Fake vaccines can cause COVID-like illnesses or other serious diseases that could kill.”

The country’s anticipated vaccines add to 100,000 expected doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine although it wasn’t specified which type of jab would be used for the 10 million doses arriving in March, report said.

ConsumerConnect reports Nigeria recorded 1,867 new cases of COVID-19, making it the highest daily record in the country ever since the outbreak of the damaging Coronavirus disease in the country.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) stated via its verified Twitter account NCDC (@NCDCgov) January 15, 2021, that of the fresh cases, Lagos State recorded the highest ever with 713 new infections, followed by Plateau and the FCT with 273 and 199 cases respectively.

According to the health agency, 117 cases were recorded in Kaduna, 79 in Oyo, 58 in Enugu, 53 in Ondo, 49 in Kano, 43 in Sokoto, 37 each in Ogun and Osun, 38 in Nasarawa, 28 in Rivers, 24 each in Benue, Delta and Niger, 18 in Gombe, 15 in Edo, 12 in Taraba, 10 in Bayelsa, nine in Ekiti, six in Borno, two in Zamfara, and one in Jigawa.

The total case load of the country now stands at 107,345 as of Friday.

However, of the total cases, 84,535 persons have recovered and have been discharged from isolation centers.

1,413 have died from the virus, and only about 1.1 million tests have been performed so far, according to report.

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