By the end of January 2021, Nigeria is set to receive at least 100,000 doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech approved COVID-19 vaccines. This was announced at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 briefing by Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA). He said “In the first phase through the COVAX facility, we expect to receive approximately 100,000 doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine by the end of January.”
Mr Shuaib also noted that about 42 million doses of vaccines is expected for free in the second phase through the COVAX facility, an initiative set up by the vaccine alliance, GAVI to ensure the easy access to a COVID-19 vaccine. He said that the vaccine would only be able to cover about 20 percent of Nigeria’s population as Nigeria has over 200 million persons as per population.
Due to the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, most countries are already in line to gain access to the vaccines for its citizens. The Nigerian government therefore inaugurated an 18 member national COVID-19 task team to ensure “vaccine security” when it arrives in the country.
Evidence on the ground at the country’s National Strategic Cold Store suggests that Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country may not be fully prepared to receive and administer the COVID-19 vaccine.
Mr Shuaib explained that in order for the virus to be completely eradicated, about 70 percent of the population need to receive the vaccines. He also noted that only about 40 percent will be vaccinated in 2021, while the remaining 30 percent would be covered in 2022.
In the process of vaccination, front line workers, first responders, strategic country leadership and those that are elderly with co-morbidities would be a priority, said by the NPHCDA DG.
Mr Shuaib also stated that there are some financing cost of additional vaccines and delivery to the country. He stated that the first cost would be acquiring the vaccines then the second would be delivering the vaccines to every ward then thirdly is ensuring the PHCs and health workers are on ground to deliver the vaccines safely and effectively.
However, he noted that the PTF is completing a total of the financial requirements for getting the vaccines. He said “ finalized figures would be made available soon.”