The Healthcare Federation of Nigeria (HFN) organized an online webinar themed “Status of Covid-19 Vaccines in Nigeria: Available options and opportunities for public private partnerships” which hosted stakeholders in the healthcare sector to deliberate and discuss plans for Covid-19 vaccination in Nigeria and role of public private partnerships.
The webinar saw an address from Nigeria’s Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunimbe Mamora, as well as lectures by representatives from Pharmaccess Foundation, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Health and Managed Care Association of Nigeria (HMCAN), amongst others.
It was moderated by the Vice President HFN, Njide Ndili, who opened the session stressing the need for the Federal Government to engage and partner with the private sector and the importance of public private partnerships towards containing the Covid-19 virus.
Also speaking, the President of HFN, Dr Pamela Ajayi, said: “Today we are talking about vaccination particularly because there is an ongoing second wave of the virus in the country. We have people who are worried and need information. Apart from the conspiracy theories, people are concerned by the speed with which the vaccine was produced when compared to other vaccines, these are the reasons for the deliberations.”
Prof. Tobias Rink De Wit, PharmAccess Group Director of Research, and the keynote speaker, gave a comprehensive lecture on the status of the Covid-19 vaccines globally. His detailed information on the new Covid-19 mutant, different vaccine developments and their stages of approval or administration, peculiarities of each vaccine and its costs, as well as best options for Nigeria.
In his presentation, the Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunimbe Mamora shared the Federal Government’s strategy and mass vaccination plan. He mentioned that the most important factors being considered are availability, accessibility, affordability as well as acceptability of the vaccine by Nigerians.
“We are examining the procedure for administration and accountability and joined the COVAX facility to put Nigeria in a good position to access the vaccines in an equitable manner”.
“The agency that has been at the forefront of this planning is the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA). Our projection is that by 2021, 20% of the vaccine needs of the country would have been covered by the COVAX facility, while the Federal Government will cover another 20% with the operational cost,” he said.
Speaking about the cost of the vaccines, he said: “We are reviewing the efficacy of the vaccines to ensure safety for our citizens and currently exploring the options of acquiring these vaccines through bilateral and multilateral engagement. For example, we are engaging the World Health Organization (WHO), and the West African Health Organization (WAHO) in order to join countries towards large procurement at reduced prices.
“There are a lot of cost factors, one of which is the storage cold-chain issue of some of the vaccines. Some of the vaccines must be stored in such cold temperatures that may not be possible cost wise. If we are looking at the vaccines that we will need to store at minus 70° then it may not be feasible cost-wise. So, we will be looking at the other vaccines that require temperature of minus 20° as opposed to the one that requires minus 70°.”
The Director Disease Control and Immunization at NPHCDA, Dr Bassey Okposen gave brief remarks on the agency’s plan to immunize 70% of the population by 2022, prioritizing frontline health workers and vulnerable population to be vaccinated first. He welcomed proposed collaboration with the private sector to accomplish this objective. Dr Leke Oshunniyi, representing Health and Managed Care Association of Nigeria (HMCAN) further presented some ideas on how the private sector can partner with Government, and requested private sector representation in the Technical Working Group for the Covid-19 vaccine planning committee.
HFN is a coalition of Nigerian private healthcare sector stakeholders. A non-partisan and non-profit organization that advocates for policy reforms that supports the growth and development of the Health Sector.