From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Nigerians have been assured that the COVID-19 vaccines will be available in the country by the end of February, 2020.
The message was contained in the communique issued at the end of Wednesday’s meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).
The nation’s 36 governors, at the virtual meeting said the country was working with the World Bank to ensure the supply of existing vaccines in the country.
The NGF, in a communique, yesterday, said its Chairman, Kayode Fayemi, briefed members on a meeting with the Chairman of the Board of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GOVI), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on the roll-out of the vaccines.
Fayemi was said to have notified the governors’ forum about an arrangement for the World Health Organisation (WHO) “to facilitate pooled procurement and the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across developing countries. Nigeria is among 12 countries in Africa that have indicated readiness of the 92 qualified countries for the facility and will by end of February 2021 receive its first shipment of vaccines.”
Meanwhile, the NGF has disowned Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello’s claim that the COVID vaccine is an agent of death meant to kill people.
The governors stressed that they will continue to be informed and guided by science and ensure that every decision taken retains public and professional trust and not compromised by conflicts of interest.
Bello, in a video widely circulating on Facebook was seen discouraging a jeering crowd of supporters from taking the vaccines.
He said in the video: “…They want to use the (COVID-19) vaccines to introduce the disease that will kill you and us. God forbid!”
The federal government had disclosed that, at least, 100,000 doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech approved COVID-19 vaccines are expected in the country by the end of this month through the COVAX co-financing public-private facility.
Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA); Dr. Faisal Shuaib, had informed the media recently that both President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo would take the COVID-19 vaccines live on TV to allay the growing vaccine hesitancy among Nigerians.
Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, who addressed journalists in Abuja, after meeting with president Buhari, last week, had said he and his colleagues will also take the vaccines on live television.
Meanwhile, president Buhari has approved N6.45 billion for the setting up of gas plants in 38 locations nationwide, in a bid to enhance the treatment of COVID-19 patients who need oxygen.
Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, broke the news at a national executive council meeting in Abuja, yesterday.
She said the president approved the release of the funds for the production of oxygen, necessitated by the increased number of patients who need oxygen due to the surge in COVID infections in the country.