The Federal Executive Council says Nigeria has signed up with the World Health Organisation, Gavi and manufacturers in order to procure COVID-19 vaccine.
Gavi is an international organisation created in 2000 to improve access to new and underused vaccines.
Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Enahire, disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents after the virtual Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The virtual FEC was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo while President Muhammadu Buhari joined virtually from his hometown, Daura, Kastina State.
“We have signed up with the World Health Organisation and Gavi for access to vaccines immediately they are available.
“But you know that these vaccines are new and are in packets and the producers are not given any indemnity.
“These countries where these vaccines are manufactured, have of course, given themselves the priority to serve themselves; serve their own citizens first and we hope that the pressure from the WHO and Gavi will be able to get reserves for other countries that are not manufacturing and they will be able to attend to what we signed up to.
“We signed up for advanced market participation in Covax; so, if we will be able to get our own, I think it will be in January.
“But there are two types of vaccines; there are those that have to be in ultra deep freezers – the MRA type of vaccines; that is the freezer that must give you Minus 80 per cent type of degree.’’
According to him, there is a type that has to be in the deep freezer of minus 20 degrees which is a deep freezer and another type that can be in minus two degrees refrigerators.
He said that the one in regular refrigerator would be easy as they were available in Nigeria.
“The one that will be in Minus 20 refrigerators is also going to be possible because we also have the freezers here but the one that will be in ultra cold freezers, we hardly have ultra cold freezers in this country and to receive and store in those ultra cold freezers will require that you purchase the ultra cold freezers.
“So, we are working on the cost; which one shall we get first?
“Obviously the one we can afford; remember that we have 200 million citizens; we need to have a way to be able to get enough to be able to take care of our citizens.
“So, that means we must be able to get the vaccines that work well, with good cost of storage and cost of delivery; that is the one we will like to get as soon as they are available.
“We also had bilateral discussions with manufacturers; some of them have written to us that they want to have discussions with us.’’
According to the minister, one of the manufacturers, comprising Russian and British teams, is already having a discussion with the Ministry of Health.
He said the ministry was looking at multiple sources and have had a conversation with United Arab Emirates.
“The ambassador came to see us and told us that they are buying vaccines from China and had tested them.
“So, they said they are introducing them to us; so, we said we would listen to them because the one that is effective and healthy in those countries and is available is the one we shall bring; and that has also proven to be safe,’’ he said.
He said that the use of face mask should be taken seriously to contain the spread of the disease in the second wave.