The Nigerian government, on Monday, said it will not accept vaccines from private and unverified sources.
Health minister Osagie Ehanire while speaking during a briefing of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 said this is due to the high rate of fake COVID-19 vaccines in circulation.
“Due to warnings by international police organizations of the high rate of fake covid19 vaccines said to be in circulation, and reports of risks of adverse events reported after vaccination, Nigeria will not accept vaccines from private and unverified sources,” Mr Ehanire said.
He, however, said the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) is pursuing initiatives to test and authorise more vaccines for use in Nigeria.
Nigeria has received approximately 4.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, which is quite insufficient considering the target of its population eligible for vaccination in the first phase.
The Nigerian government had said it plans to vaccinate 109 million people against the COVID-19 virus over a period of two years.Health authorities said only eligible population from 18 years and above will be vaccinated in four phases.
Due to the low availability of vaccines, states across the country were recently directed to halt vaccination once they use half of the doses allocated to them to ensure those who have taken the first dose receive the second dose.
“We believe that in a situation where, we still cannot specifically determine when the next batch of AstraZeneca vaccines will arrive, then I think wisdom only dictates that it is better for us to vaccinate people fully,” Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora had said.
The head of Nigeria’s immunisation agency, Faisal Shuaib, on Monday admitted the global scarcity of COVID-19 vaccines due to high demands. This, he said, will further affect the remaining phases of the vaccination campaign in the country.
“We are aware of the global scarcity of COVID-19 vaccines due to high demands especially in countries where vaccines are being produced,” he said.
“We therefore anticipate a delay in vaccine supply to Nigeria which may also affect and impact the remaining phases of the vaccination campaign.”
Meanwhile, Nigeria has signed off to receive about 29.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccines through the African Union, Mr Shuaib said.
He said the country is also expecting deliveries of vaccines through the COVAX facility by the end of May or early June.
The J&J COVID-19 single-dose vaccine is compatible with standard vaccine storage and distribution channels with ease of delivery to remote areas.
The vaccine is estimated to remain stable for two years at -4°F (-20°C), and a maximum of three months at routine refrigeration at temperatures of 36-46°F (2 to 8°C).
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