The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, on Wednesday, December 16, confirmed that the Federal Government has signed up with the World Health Organisation (WHO), Gavi Alliance and manufacturers in order to procure the COVID-19 vaccine.
Gavi is an international organization established in 2000 to improve access to new and underused vaccines.
Ehanire made this disclosure this to the media at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said: “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 will 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 percent type of degree.
“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.”
The minister said the one in the regular refrigerator would be easy as they were available in Nigeria.
Ehanire added: “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. 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.”