The Ministry of Finance has said a total sum of N10 billion has been released to support domestic vaccine production to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, made the disclosure at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) COVID-19 briefing on Monday, January 18, in Abuja.
Ehanire said: “The Ministry of Finance has released N10 billion to support domestic vaccine production.
“While we are working to develop our own vaccines, Nigeria is exploring options for licensed production, in collaboration with recognised institutions. We are also exploring the option of local production of the vaccines in the country.”
He urged Nigerians to ignore claims by some people that they had COVID-19 vaccines for sale in the country.
“I advise all citizens to disregard these claims, as they are criminal. There are procedures for vaccine acquisition and use, which include appropriate regulations and also certification by the National Agency for Food and Drug and Administration and Control, NAFDAC.
“I advise against fake vaccines, as there is no one approved for use in the country. The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) is the only authorised vaccine administrator in Nigeria,” he said.
Ehanire stated that the number of new COVID-19 cases had continued to rise in the country; such that 10,300 confirmed cases were reported from just 50,750 samples tested in one week; translating into a 20 per cent positivity rate.
“It means one out of every five persons tested in the last one week turned out positive; compared with the previous week which recorded a positivity rate of 14 percent.
“It is instructive of the second wave that all cases recorded so far this January is more than 20 per cent of all confirmed cases in Nigeria, more than the whole of December, barely halfway through the month.
“There is no doubting the fact that we are deep into the second wave of the pandemic which requires that PTF; as well as FMoH review our strategies to respond to the challenge.
“The federal ministry of health has outlined three approaches to confront the pandemic. These are infection mitigation, therapeutics, as well as vaccines,” he said.
Ehanire reiterated that reducing the infection rate for COVID-19; remained the easiest and also cheapest objective of the government.
According to him, the government’s main effort is to ensure social mobilisation for testing; strengthening; surveillance activities for early detection; active contact tracing; isolation; and treatment.
He, however, added that the implementation of critical non-pharmaceutical measures required the cooperation of the public.