The Federal Government has expressed its readiness to examine every possible option in the development and distribution of a vaccine against the COVID-19 disease.
This was disclosed on Wednesday 5th August, 2020 by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, during a virtual meeting with representatives of the BNT162 COVID-19 vaccine candidate on the progress of the vaccine development around the world, including Africa.
The meeting had in attendance the Health Minister, Dr. Osagie Ehanire and the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaib with representatives of Pfizer and Biotech, the international pharmaceutical firms promoting the BNT162 vaccine candidate.
According to Prof. Osinbajo “the interaction between the FG and the promoters of the vaccine candidate is an important conversation and it is important for us that we are prioritized-as the largest country in Africa-in the distribution of the best COVID-19 vaccine when it’s eventually ready.”
“Our priority is the health of the Nigerian citizens. We continue to engage and intend to look at every possible option -from all manufacturers- of a good vaccine. We want to do the very best for our people in this regard.”
During the meeting the Vice President asked several questions about the COVID-19 vaccine candidate including how quickly can Nigeria get the vaccine once it’s safely ready.
Responding, the Pfizer Country Manager and Representative in Africa, who spoke for the promoters, Mr. Subair Olayinka disclosed that “Nigeria will be priority,” for the vaccine supply to Africa.
Although the vaccine trials are not going on in Nigeria currently he said the trails are ongoing in parts of the African continent and it would be entering the third phase, having concluded the first two phases successfully.
Also speaking the Health Minister noted that the FG would consider quality, appropriate volume and how well and quick a vaccine can be delivered to Nigeria in deciding which manufacturer to make the supply.