NIGERIA GOVT. TO BEGIN VACCINATION AGAINST COVID-19

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The Federal Government has indicated plans to introduce the Covid-19 vaccine in the first quarter of 2021, after certification by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and safety approval by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

This disclosure was made by the Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, during a virtual sensitization meeting with Media gatekeepers and stakeholders, on the planned introduction of Covid-19 vaccine in Nigeria.

According to him, “We have actually developed a comprehensive deployment plan on how we are going to deploy these vaccines in phases”.

The Director, Disease Control and Immunisation, NPHCDA, Dr.BasseyOkposen who also took part in the virtual media engagement further disclosed that the vaccine would be given free of charge, introduced in four phases and “we should have been able to immunise 70% of Nigerians by December next year”.

Due to the urgent need for Covid-19 vaccines to bring a quick end the pandemic, normal regulatory processes are being adapted in order to move more quickly.

To fast-track domestic review process for regulatory approval and licensing of vaccines, the regulatory body NAFDAC, will rely on WHO-approved vaccines for developing countries and on decisions by major international regulators, including the US Food & Drug Administration.

“Such a fast-track approach is likely to see reviews completed in 15 days rather than several months”, noted Prof.MojisolaAdeyeye, DG, NAFDAC.

All things considered, the fast-track approach for vaccine approval in Nigeria gives renewed hope of inoculations in the country, before long. As it is, Nigeria expects to receive vaccine doses from Pfizer by the end of January, 165 million doses of vaccines through the COVAX Facility and more supply from other sources. In addition to these, efforts are being sped up to produce a locally manufactured vaccine.

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