The Executive Director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaib yesterday explained that the world Health Organization’s (WHO) refusal to list Nigeria among countries to receive covid-19 vaccine was based on several cogent factors.
Among these factors he noted, includes the mortality rates from COVID-19, the number of new cases, the trend in the number of cases, the population of countries and the availability of the appropriate Cold Chain equipment.
The NPHCDA boss stated this during a joint press conference with WHO country Representativ DR. Walter Molumbo in Abuja, NPHCDA in Abuja.
“As clearly stated by the WHO Regional Director, there are a number of factors that were considered in allocating the small quantity of the 320,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine to Covax countries. These include the mortality rates from COVID-19, the number of new cases, the trend in the number of cases, the population of countries and the availability of the appropriate Cold Chain equipment.
“It is clear that countries such as South Africa which received the Pfizer allocation have the new strain of the COVID-19 virus, has the highest mortality rates and is struggling to contain transmission. Furthermore, giving smaller countries such as Cape Verde and Rwanda few doses of the Pfizer vaccine would have a larger public health impact considering their population size.
He added that Nigeria will now receive 16m doses of Astrazeneca vaccine to replace Pfizer vaccine in month of February. “So, it is a welcome development that we are receiving 16m doses of the Astrazeneca vaccine to replace the Pfizer vaccine in the same month of February. The 16m doses will invariably help us reach more of our population and is suited to our existing cold chain system”.
He added that the nations ultra cold chain equipment would have been able to store over 400,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine if these were brought to Nigeria. “So we are ready for any type of vaccine that is allocated to us.
He however assured Nigerians that the Federal Government under the leadership of His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari is determined and committed to acquiring the COVID-19 vaccines that are safe, effective and available for deployment.
“The PTF on COVID-19 will continue to provide credible and up to date information on our journey towards controlling the spread of COVID19 using the non-pharmaceutical interventions and the vaccines when they become available.