From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has announced that Nigeria’s allocation of 4 million doses of the COVAX vaccine which is at no cost to the country will arrive in the morning of Tuesday.
The Chairman of PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, made the disclosure Sunday night in Abuja.
He confirmed the development to journalists in Abuja.
According to him: “I can assure you that the vaccines are coming. And they are coming very quickly, barring any change in the delivery plan that has been released to us by UNICEF, like I said, bearing any change because the logistical arrangements and other things are in the hands of the UNICEF, we believe that vaccines should depart India on the 1st of March 2021 10:30pm in the night and arrive Abuja on the second Of March 2021, at about 11am in the morning. So we are making preparation for that.
‘But the truth about it is that as we received the vaccines, this one is coming from the corporate facility. About 4 million doses of vaccines are coming from the corporate facility on this one tree. We’re supposed to have about 16 million in the first quarter from the COVAX facility, by the time they supply all the range we expect that they will supply about 84 million doses from the COVID facility which is free of charge, and is supposed to cover about 20% of the Nigerian population.
‘We also have another source of vaccines coming in from the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) facility. We expect in about 41 million of that a combination of AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson. Everything we are expecting from the COVAX facility, I believe is going to be the AstraZeneca which has a good range in terms of storage for us because it uses just plus two, two plus 8% of refrigeration. It doesn’t come with a new complication.
‘We already have that cold chain available in virtually all the local governments or constituency and wards in this country. I believe we are well prepared to receive our vaccines. And I hope that they keep to this timeframe that they have given us and we are eagerly expecting vaccines.’
The SGF, however cautioned Nigerians that the vaccine is not an excuse to jettisoned the non-pharmaceutical interventions put in place by the PTF.
Mustapha said: ‘I must caution Nigerians that it is going to be a combination of vaccines with the non pharmaceutical measures and the non pharmaceutical measures will remain in place, the wearing of masks the keeping of social distancing, the need for personal hygiene and taking responsibility to ensure that we do not congregate in large gatherings and avoid travels if it is not necessary.’