The Federal Government has assured that the first batch of COVID-19 vaccine will arrive the country by the end of January.
The National Coordinator of the Presidential Taskforce on Control of COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu disclosed this in a television interview on Sunday stating that there was a presidential directive to ensure that vaccine were sourced as timely as possible.
He said: “In terns of when it is going to be available in the country, there is a lot of work going on with National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) and the president has directed the Presidential Taskforce on Control of COVID-19 last two weeks to get involved in the nitty gritty of the efforts to ensure that the vaccine come in a timely manner.
“We expect the first batch of vaccines to come in possibly towards the end of January,” he said.
The national coordinator said that there was a lot of work going on with development partners, especially GAVI , adding that federal government does want Nigeria to be left behind on the issue of sourcing for vaccine.
The government had earlier announced that the COVID-19 vaccine will be administered on Nigerians free of charge when vaccination begins.
“Making use of the GAVI arrangement, we already have assurance that 20 per cent of our population will be accommodated by GAVI in the vaccine. “We don’t need to pay for that and this will cover 40 million Nigerians or so. But we have to pay for the operations and the logistics associated with it”. He also said that there were plans to buy additional vaccines aside the GAVI arrangement,” the PTF coordinator had said.
He continued: “We are also planning to pay for an additional 20 to 40 per cent. In general, over the next two years, at least 70 percent of the population needs to be vaccinated before we can have enough herd immunity.
“The Pfizer vaccine is one of the most effective vaccines at the moment”. When asked if the vaccine would be administered free, Aliyu answered in the affirmative: “Of course, of course.” The PTF national coordinator advised Nigerians not to discard safety measures already in place just because of the vaccine. “Just to make it clear to the general public, even if we have the vaccine available tomorrow in Nigeria, the epidemic will not change.