Federal Government has lamented the high cost of storing the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine being expected in Nigeria soon, even as it procures three Ultra Cold Chain (UCC) machines with storage capacity of 2, 100 litres for storage of the COVID-19 vaccines when they eventually arrive Nigeria.
The government said it’s considering the option of Oxford AstraZeneca or other COVID-19 vaccines that would be safely and easily stored using existing facilities being used to store vaccines used in routine immunization.
Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Shaib Faisal, who disclosed the information to journalists after inspecting the newly installed UCC machines in Abuja, on Tuesday, said the task of procuring and installing UCC facility across strategic locations in Nigeria for the purpose of storing Pfizer BioNTech vaccine is huge and could cost Nigeria huge fortune.
He said: “The 100, 000 doses of vaccine being expected in Nigeria will occupy a space of 500 litres out of the 2,100 litre capacity, meaning that the UCC facility will store over 400, 000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine when procured.
“But going forward, we would focus on COVID-19 vaccines that does not require UCC to store or keep potent and effective. We considering the option of Oxford-AstraZeneca type of vaccine that requires lower degrees Celsius to store.
“However, if we would continue to bring in more Pfizer vaccines, then the providers would make arrangements for procurement of additional UCC that would be installed across strategic locations in Nigeria.
“It’s easier for us to move the kind of vaccines that we are used to because our health care workers are used to it. Our routine immunization vaccines are stored at +2 to +8 degrees Celsius. We suggest that since our health workers are already used to that, we should consider vaccines that could be stored in such facilities.”