Contrary to news making rounds that Nigeria would commence production of Covid-19 vaccines soon, Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has said that the country would not be manufacturing them yet.
The minister gave the explanation while fielding questions from journalists at a press briefing in Abuja on Monday, June 20, 2022.
According to the Ehanire, “generally, the world now has plenty of Covid-19 Vaccines, which are being donated to Nigeria, the Federal government also ordered 30million doses of vaccines and even those vaccines we ordered, which the Federal government is paying for, we have not even used yet, we are using donations.
“So the urgency to produce our own covid vaccines now is a bit reduced because we have to finish the donations and we still have those the Government has procured.
He further clarified that, “the urgency to have the technology, to know how to produce vaccines is what is best. So we are bringing together all our experts, including the producers of vaccines and manufacturers to find the way to have a technology in case of any future new outbreaks to produce vaccines to join in the research, development and innovation.
Giving an update on Covid-19 vaccine uptake in the country, Executive Director of the National Primary HealthCare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib who was represented by the Director, Planning and Research department of the NPHCDA, Dr. Garba Abdullahi said as at 19th of June 2022, only 21,236,404 out of the 111,776,503 eligible Nigerian residents were fully vaccinated.
Garba explained that, countries such as the United States of America who lifted travel ban on unvaccinated passengers had achieved 80% herd immunity while Nigeria has only 20%, thus it could not afford to lift travel ban.
Lamenting the slow vaccination rate, Garba said: “From the above statistics, it is clear that the journey is still far from the destination and more aggressive actions need to be taken to fast track the process to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19 infection in Nigeria”.
He however expressed optimism that with the expansion of vaccination sites,
integration of Covid-19 vaccination into routine immunisation, engagement of all stakeholders through targeted advocacy, intensive media, and community engagements, vaccine hesistency would be reduced and the country would achieve herd immunity.
He also said: “We are assuring Nigerians that the vaccines administered by the Federal Government through NPHCDA under the guidance of the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire are safe and effective against all variants of COVID 19 viruses including Omicron.
“We are therefore calling all eligible Nigerian residents aged 18years and above to visit the nearest vaccination site take their jabs and even revisit for booster dose 6 months after the second dose of Astrazeneca, Moderna and Pfizer as the case may be, but after 2 months following J&J vaccination”.