Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Health Minister, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has said Nigeria and indeed the continent must join the scramble to get the potential COVID-19 vaccines.
According to him, Africa has an initiative to ensure the continent is not left behind in getting COVID-19 vaccines when out.
The UK government has announced that it has secured deals for 90 million doses of two possible COVID-19 vaccines from the collaboration of Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech, and French group Valneva.
The UK announced that it has secured 30 million doses of the experimental BioNtech/Pfizer vaccine and a deal in principle for 60 million doses of the Valveva vaccine, with an option of 40 million more doses if it was proven to be safe, effective and suitable.
German firm, BioNTech also disclosed this week that the United States Government is set to pay almost $2 billion for 100 million doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
BioNTech, which is developing the drug with US pharma giant Pfizer, said in a statement Wednesday that Americans will receive the future vaccine for free in line with the Trump administration’s “commitment for free access for COVID-19 vaccines”.
It said under the agreement, the US government has placed an initial order for 100 million doses to be delivered if regulatory approval was granted.
Laboratories around the world are racing to produce a vaccine to help end the worst health crisis in over a century.
More than 200 candidate vaccines are currently being developed with roughly two dozens at the stage of clinical trials with human volunteers.
BioNTech and Pfizer have narrowed their vaccine candidates down to two frontrunners and waiting for the green light to begin a mass trial involving 30,000 healthy volunteers, which may happen this July.