FG offers reason for shift in Jan 31 COVID-19 vaccine delivery date
• CACOVID donates oxygen to stem deaths
Executive Director/Chief Executive of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, has offered reason Nigeria will no longer take delivery of the COVID-19 vaccines on January 31, 2021 as earlier advertised.
During the briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, yesterday, in Abuja, Shuaib observed: “I am glad to inform you that we are set to receive the first batch of the Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA vaccine by February 2021. Information reaching us from the COVAX facility is that due to manufacturing and supply issues being encountered, the expected date of arrival of the first 100,000 doses of the mRNA vaccine will now be in February and not in January, as earlier communicated. In the spirit of transparency, we would like you to join us at the airport to receive the vaccines when the time comes.”
He told reporters: “It gives me great pleasure to discuss with you once again our collective efforts to stop community transmission of COVID-19. I want to sincerely acknowledge and appreciate those of you who took time to visit our national strategic cold store to verify our capacity and readiness to receive COVID-19 vaccines.
“For the benefit of those who could not join us for the facility tour last week, let me reiterate the fact that at the National Strategic Cold Store (NSCS), we have three ultra-cold chain (UCC) freezers, which have the capacity to store over 400,000 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA vaccines at a temperature of -60 to -80 degrees centigrade. We also have walk in freezer rooms that can store vaccines at -25 to -15 degree centigrade.
He went on: “The mRNA vaccines can be stored at +2 to +8 degree centigrade at the health facility level for five days. And through our routine immunisation system, we have supported the states in the past with solar direct drive (SDD) cold chain equipment.
“By the end of 2021, all the political wards in Nigeria will have one functional cold chain equipment per ward to ensure potency of the vaccine, even if there is no electricity supply. We have enough storage capacity at national, zonal, state, LGA, ward and health facility levels.
“It is important gentlemen, to underscore the fact that the vaccines we are expecting are the same mRNA vaccines being used in the USA, UK, Israel, France, Germany and most of European countries. The Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA vaccines are universally the same and the mRNA vaccine was the first to receive Emergency Use Authorisation by the World Health Organization (WHO) and is reported to have 95 per cent efficacy.”
MEANWHILE, the private sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) has donated oxygen to isolation centres nationwide to stem the high deaths arising from the second wave of the pandemic.
Its Administrator and CEO of Aliko Dangote Foundation, Zouera Youssoufou in a chat with the media yesterday in Lagos, said the distribution of the critical item was being undertaken by their key partner, Mr. Raj Gupta of African Industries Group, at no cost upon request by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
She said: “As you all know, we are experiencing a severe oxygen supply problem in the country with this second wave. CACOVID, through one of our founding members, Mr. Raj Gupta of African Industries Group, immediately stepped up and has been providing oxygen in Abuja, mainly to the National Hospital and Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital in the FCT.
“Since December 21, 2020 when we first received the request for oxygen from the PTF, 1,300 cylinders have been delivered and we will continue to do so as long as this is required.”