NAFDAC to determine Buhari, Osinbajo’s Saturday COVID-19 vaccination – NPHCDA boss

President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo would on Saturday receive the COVID-19 vaccine publicly subject to clearance by the National Agency for Food Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) expected Thursday evening or Friday morning.
This is even as has declared that states that are yet to meet the conditions will not receive the COVID vaccines.

Executive Director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, disclosed this at the State House weekly briefing.
He said the president and vice president would receive the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine after some frontline are vaccinated on Friday.

He said the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, would also receive the vaccine on Saturday.

He said members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) would be vaccinated on Monday.

“After we are able to get our strategic leaders to publicly demonstrate that these vaccines are safe, the plan is to now go to the state level to start the launch at the treatment centres of the states and also get strategic leaders such as governors to publicly take the vaccines.

“By the time all of these happen, we will have finished all of the necessary preparations, we will have created a dashboard that will track very carefully the status of the preparedness of the states.

“We will not be sending vaccines to the states that have not fulfilled all of the criteria that will ensure that if the vaccines get to the states, they are going to be safe.

“For example, we have communicated to the states that they have to wrap up their security around their cold stors because these are very valuable vaccines and we do not want a situation where vaccines are taken to the states and criminal elements take advantage to vandalise these cold stores.

“We are also aware that during the vandalisation, there were some cold stores that actually suffered. I know that the state governors are trying to fix those but we have to verify that those are ready to receive our vaccines.

“We are working with the sub-national level; we are in conversation with the Nigerian Governors’ Forum to see how Nigerians can rapidly get their vaccines. It is very critical that we roll out rapidly so that we can cut into any kind of mutation that can lead to the development of resistance against our vaccines,” he said.

The NPHCDA boss also enjoined Nigerians wish to receive the vaccines to register on the website of the agency.

Also speaking, the Director-General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Iheakwazu, said despite the fact that vaccines provide some very important light, testing, surveillance, protecting , investing in national health security and driving risk communications must continue.

He said Nigeria has maintained a robust response to the pandemic, and called for the sustenance of critical investment in the health sector to consolidate the gains achieved in the last one year.
Also speaking, Director-General of National Agency for Food Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, said since the arrival of the vaccines in the country on Tuesday, the agency has been carrying out series of checks on their efficacy.
She said the agency and the NPHCDA are working closely to ensure smooth roll out of the vaccination on Friday.
She warned that false COVID-19 vaccines are already in the global market.
“That’s why NAFDAC is focusing on track-and-trace, to ensure no infiltration of substandard vaccines in supply chain. Traceability is very important; we can trace the vaccines from airport to the patient,” she said.

In his remarks, of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said Nigeria must not stretch its luck on the spread of the virus.
“We must continue with our non-pharmaceutical measures. We must look at vaccine as a game changer, but make no mistake that it’s a replacement for everything else. It is an additional strategy. Vaccines are an addition to the existing Response, not a Replacement,” he said.

He said plans to provide 10-bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in every state of the federation as part of strategies to provide critical response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He assured that the focus on COVID-19 prevention and treatment would not wipe out the maintenance of normal routine vaccination.

The also assured that Nigeria is not just relying on charity for the supply of vaccines but has open an account with Afreximbank, from where 370 million doses of vaccines for the continent would be sent and Nigeria expecting to get between 80 and 85 million doses.

“Regarding charity, we are not just depending on charity. Right from the time the idea of vaccine production came up, the , GAVI, – the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, have been normally supporting Nigeria, in financing routine vaccines.

“They are specialists in vaccines, which are procured by UNICEF for us, came together and an organisation called CEPI – Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, to say, look, this is a vaccine that’s new, we don’t know the cost, we don’t know the financial situation of certain countries, let’s set up an organisation to get vaccines and not only vaccines, but also diagnostic kits and so on, to certain countries that may not have easy access to get what you call equitable access,” he said.

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