Health

COVID-19: FG targets 70% vaccination in 2 years

Health Minister Osagie Ehanire

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, says the Federal Government is exploring all options to ensure the vaccination of 70 per cent of the population in two years.

Ehanire said this at the Presidential Task Force National Briefing on COVID-19 in Abuja.

“Nigeria is exploring all options to secure safe and efficacious vaccines to meet the target of covering at least 70 per cent of the population within two years.

“With an eye on value-for-money, we are negotiating with many parties and planning for flawless execution using recent experience from polio eradication, in the face of a global scramble for vaccines.

“Apart from the 100,000 doses allocated as first wave to Nigeria by the COVAX facility, we also placed order for 10 million doses through the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) of the Africa Union Commission, which has secured 270 million doses with the $2billion backing by Africa Exim Bank for a ‘whole-of-Africa’ approach of the Chairman of the African Union, President Ramaphosa of South Africa.

“The vaccine is expected to be rolled out from late March or April.

The quantity we order from AVATT will depend on our capacity to dispense them to avoid wastage as we have seen in some countries where vaccine management became a problem.

“Nigeria has an indigenous vaccine candidate which will require considerable investment to get through trials. We shall seek sponsorship to take the initiative further.”

The Minister also gave details on the Handbook on Home Based COVID-19 Care and its importance.

“The development of a Handbook on Home Based COVID-19 Care is to guide patients who will be each assigned to a specific case manager, linked to a health facility, to provide social support service and ensure positive outcomes.

“This will reduce pressure on health facilities and free bed space for serious and critical cases.

“This handbook will also provide Nigerians with guidelines to correct the divergent, misleading treatment regimens being touted in various quarters.

“The Federal Government’s nationwide Oxygen Intervention Projects, which will see the construction of at least one oxygen plant in every state, is under way.

“Five facilities in FCT will also get upgraded oxygen plants in a separate intervention.

“In the meantime, the Federal Ministry of Health is arranging for federal tertiary hospitals and isolation centres to interface and explore demand imbalances among facilities and set up an oxygen re-distribution system to assist each other when demand arises,” Ehanire said.

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