Published March 2, 2021
Olalekan Adetayo , Friday Olokor and Leke Baiyewu
THE Executive Director , National Primary Health Care Development Agency , Faisal Shuaibu , on Monday unveiled the Federal Government ’s rollout plan for the COVID – 19 vaccines that would be arriving in the country on Tuesday .
Shuaibu , who spoke at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID – 19 in Abuja , assured Nigerians that all necessary safety and quality control measures had been put in place for “ the arrival, storage and successful administration of the vaccine in the country . ”
On receipt of the vaccines , he said samples would be handed over to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control team , which they would analyse over a period of two days .
These workers , he said, would also be electronically registered in the COVID – 19 vaccine database and they would receive their COVID -19 vaccination card with a QR code that would be verified anywhere globally.
He added , “ On Saturday , March 6 , key strategic leaders will receive first dose of the vaccine .
“ The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force will be engaging with the President , the Vice President and strategic leaders to get an exact date on when they will take theirs publicly.
“ On Monday , March 8 , 2021 , more vaccination sites would have been set up at designated locations such as National Assembly Clinic , State House Clinic and Federal Medical Centre, Jabi , where strategic leaders such as the SGF , Senate President , Speaker of the House of Representatives, Attorney General of the Federation, Inspector General of Police , ministers and ministers of states, senators , House of Representatives members, traditional leaders and religious leaders would be vaccinated .
“ After this initial roll -out phase , vaccine distribution to the states for the Phase 1 vaccination process will begin. This phase is the vaccination of all frontline health workers , their supporting staff and strategic leaders . ”
DSS , EFCC, ICPC to monitor deployment
Meanwhile, the NPHCDA boss said working with CACOVID , plans were on the ground for a cargo plane provided by the private sector to transport the vaccines to states by air.
He said states without functional airports would have their vaccines transported by road using vans fitted with cold cabins from the nearest airport to their states.
He added , “ The vaccines will be stored at the State Cold Stores from where they will be transported by road to LGA Cold Stores .
“ Once activities have commenced in the states, there would be strict monitoring by PTF , FMOH , NPHCDA and independent bodies such as EFCC , DSS , ICPC, and Civil Society Organisations .
“ States / health facilities / health workers that are identified as defaulting from the standard protocol and guidelines for this phase of vaccination would be sanctioned. ”
Shuaibu added that while the first phase is ongoing , the national team would be ready for the arrival of the next batch of vaccines which would be used for the next phase of vaccination .
He said tentatively , the second batch is expected in the country between March and April .
Pregnant women , he explained, would be evaluated by their health providers to weigh the benefit versus risk , before a decision would be taken to vaccinate them .
FG rules out private sector importation of vaccines
In a related development, the Minister of State for Health, Olorunimbe Mamora , ruled out the involvement of the private sector in the importation of vaccines into the country .
He also said all vaccines coming into Nigeria must enter through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja , while vaccines coming through any other airport would be confiscated by the Nigeria Customs Service .
He said, “ It is important to mention that Nigeria is expecting enough vaccines of three types to cater to our needs , with the option to increase supply if need be . There will , for now , be no need for ungoverned private importation of vaccines .
“ Vaccine deployment will be by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency till further notice , and I can assure all citizens that they are in a position to cater to the needs of all persons, as in the rollout strategy , but also able to respond to institutions , clusters and settings , including closed settings like prisons and IDPs , with deployment of NPHCDA vaccination teams. This is upon application and special arrangements .
“ All manufacturers of vaccines require an official indemnification to be able to use their product, which Nigeria has provided for the COVAX Facility . Vaccines from any other sources must first have NAFDAC’ s Emergency Use Authorisation , and are not covered under the indemnification arrangement.
“ Such vaccines will be illegal and therefore subject to be impounded by NAFDAC and Customs . All vaccines coming into Nigeria will arrive only by the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja .”
Second batch of vaccines from AU to arrive by April – PTF
Speaking , the National Incident Manager of the PTF , Dr Mukhtar Muhammad , said another batch of vaccines to be supplied by the African Union would arrive in Nigeria between March and April .
He said apart from the AU , the country was also expecting vaccines supply from COVAX .
He said, “ Right now , the second batch of vaccines that we are expecting will be those from the African Union and we understand that this will come between March and April . We also expect that we will be getting another consignment from the COVAX Facility .”
Earlier at the briefing, Muhammad said the PTF had recorded significant milestones in the national response to coronavirus pandemic one year after Nigeria recorded its index case.
He said the President demonstrated “ highest commitment ” by availing the whole of the Federal Government to steer the affairs of COVID – 19 response.
Muhammad also stated that the PTF had taken the right decisions early , stopping international flights and cessation of movement .
The NIM announced that the number of laboratories designated to COVID -19 tests had risen from one to 120 labs , while isolation centres had increased from zero to 125 , with accredited centres training thousands of health workers as well as millions of PPEs and other supplies .
Vaccines alone won’ t solve our problem, says FG
Meanwhile, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha , warned that vaccines alone would not solve the problem .
According to him, with the arrival of vaccines , Nigeria has entered the Non -Pharmaceutical Interventions plus vaccines phase of the national response.
He said , “ This development offers a huge ray of hope that comes with its own challenges and responsibilities for all Nigerians . We must all be prepared to take responsibility.
“ The development of vaccines is a ray of hope and a welcome development ; vaccines alone cannot be a solution ; accessing vaccines has been strategic and deliberate.
“ Vaccines coming to Nigeria shall be safe and efficacious ; the PTF is coordinating , while the FMOH /NPHCDA is directly implementing using existing infrastructure and skills set ; and the required Vaccines Strategy Steering Committee has been set up by the Minister of Health .”
No figure yet for supplementary budget
The SGF also said no figure had been arrived at on the supplementary budget to be presented to the National Assembly to cater for vaccines .
He said the Ministry of Finance , Budget and National Planning as well as the Budget Office would arrive at a realistic figure.
Mustapha , however, said the administration of the vaccines would be prioritised in a strategic manner beginning with health sector frontline workers and strategic leadership .
He also said in 2021 and 2022 , the government aimed to vaccinate 70 per cent of the population .
He also noted that 12 months down the road , a lot had happened worldwide and particularly in Nigeria and that the statistics before February 27 , 2020 , stood at zero , while one year down the line , there has been 155 ,076 cases ; 132 ,566 discharged; 1 ,485 ,103 tested ; and 1902 deaths .