The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire has said that the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines from Covax will arrive in Nigeria from February.
He disclosed this at the national briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja on Monday
Ehanire who did not specify the date or time for arrival of the vaccine said Nigerians should expect the first roll out as from February
The Minister said, “According to latest information I have, we have been advised to expect the first COVID-19 vaccines from Covax to arrive in Nigeria as from February”.
“We shall continue to review plans to ensure smooth roll out in our country”.
He expressed that the delay being experienced in receiving the first batch of COVID-19 vaccine was because manufacturers were yet to take decisions on when to deploy it to the country.
He added that “The date of first arrival of vaccines in Nigeria has kept changing, because the decision lies with the manufacturer who already has heavy commitments”.
“Altogether, it will give us coverage for over 50 per cent of our target for 2021, if we can access all doses promised”.
He stated that COVID-19 was a threat to mankind, and not only to any country alone.
The Minister further stated that “Besides, the Director-General of WHO has repeatedly stated that no country is safe till all countries are safe”.
“We have been keeping a strict eye on the vaccines scene and those who follow International news may have heard of the scramble for vaccines which has pitched some countries against each other in Europe, as wealthy high-income countries have pre-paid to allocate vaccines to themselves”.
“A spokesperson for WHO estimated that 95 per cent of vaccines manufactured globally so far has gone to only 10 rich and powerful countries”.
Relatedly, the Minister said the Ministry of Health’s Oxygen Strategy had been boosted by the addition of 38 proposed Oxygen plants, now in procurement processes.
Furthermore, he expressed that it would address COVID-19 treatment centres’ needs and the long neglected oxygen needs of the health sector in the post-COVID-19 era.