FG targets 70% COVID-19 vaccination in two years – Health Minister

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The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said on Monday the Federal Government was exploring all options to ensure the vaccination of 70 percent of Nigeria’s population in two years.

Ehanire, who stated this at the weekly briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, said Nigeria was exploring all options to secure safe and efficacious vaccines for Nigerians.

He said: “With an eye on value-for-money, we are negotiating with many parties and planning for flawless execution using recent experience from polio eradication in the face of a global scramble for vaccines.”

Ehanire said apart from the 100,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines allocated to Nigeria by the COVAX facility, the federal government also placed an order for 10 million doses through the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) of the Africa Union Commission.

He said the commission had secured 270 million doses with the $2 billion backing by Africa Exim Bank for a “whole-of-Africa” approach by the Chairman of African Union, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa.

The minister added: “The vaccine is expected to be rolled out as from late March or April. The quantity we ordered from AVATT will depend on our capacity to dispense them to avoid wastage as we have seen in some countries where vaccine management became a problem.

“Nigeria has an indigenous vaccine candidate which will require considerable investment to get through trials.

“We shall seek sponsorship to take the initiative further.

“The development of a handbook on Home Based COVID-19 care is to guide patients who will be assigned each to a specific case manager linked to a health facility, to provide social support service and ensure positive outcomes.

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“This will reduce pressure on health facilities and free bed space for serious and critical cases.

“This handbook will also provide Nigerians with guidelines to correct the divergent, and misleading treatment regimens being touted in various quarters.”

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