The Presidential Task Force on Control of COVID-19 said Monday that government would not take chances over spread of the virus despite the fact that available records show global decline of reported cases.
Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said this at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force in Abuja.
“This trend in reduction compares with global observations of seeming decline in COVID cases, signifying that the second wave may be receding.
“We are, however, not drawing conclusions yet and certainly not declaring victory, but rather watching developments as they unfold nationally and internationally, ready to make use of comparative advantages that may emerge.
“We are intensifying the monitoring of COVID-19 positive cases, especially those that can self-isolate, by strengthening and improving the capacity of personnel, to manage home-based care.
“Findings from supportive supervision of treatment centres also indicate that vulnerable and ‘at risk’ persons, are among those reluctant to accept hospital admission, especially if they have no severe symptoms. It is important to follow medical advice and comply with directives.
“The bed occupancy at our isolation and treatment centres is about 36 per cent, so there is sufficient bed space to comfortably accommodate patients and we stand ready to redistribute from heavy burden to lower burden hospitals, if the need arises,” he said.
The minister said there are reports of an offer of 300 million doses of Sputnik V vaccines to the AVATT portfolio, which boosts availability to 557 million.
He said this would be a great relief to the Africa, and also increase the variety of vaccines to four, stressing that the vaccine coordination committee would advise on the best options for Nigeria, bearing salient factors in mind.
“Nigeria is aware of official reports of large scale fraud and counterfeit vaccines that are already in circulation. Since our vaccine needs for this year are virtually fully satisfied by multilateral and bilateral original manufacturer sources, the Ministry of Health does not, for now, intend to procure vaccines from private importers, and no vaccine will be allowed into the country unless they are certified by NAFDAC.
“The need to involve the private sector in dispensing vaccine will be studied by the vaccine coordinating committee and NPHCDA, who has the mandate to administer vaccines in Nigeria. We must however, remember that the COVID-19 vaccine is not an ordinary routine vaccine, but an unfamiliar, novel vaccine with properties that are still being studied.
“There may be effects during their administration, for which government must issue indemnification and take responsibility, which will not cover vaccines imported or administered privately, outside of legal framework.
“We applaud private sector moves to support COVID-19 vaccine financing by the Nigerian private sector, which will be exclusively channelled through the account Nigeria has opened with the Afrexim Bank in Addis Ababa,” he said.