NIGERIA’S 36 state governors have announced plans to work towards gaining access to Covid-19 vaccines by the end of next month as part of a plan to introduce a mass vaccination programme aimed at combating the pandemic.
Unlike most other nations that have already begun vaccinations, Nigeria does not have a programme in place and has no stockpiles or supplies. Indeed, there was no provision for the purchase of vaccines in the 2021 budget and it has only been of late that negotiations to obtains them has begun.
Yesterday, the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) met to address the matter and after its virtual meeting, chairman Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State said talks are ongoing with the World Bank to ensure Nigeria assesses vaccines. Governor Fayemi said he has met with Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the chair of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (Gavi) on the roll-out of the vaccines.
Governor Fayemi said: “Nigeria is among 12 countries in Africa that have indicated its readiness of the 92 qualified countries for the facility and will by end of February 2021 receive its first shipment of vaccines.”
During the NGF meeting, he briefed his colleagues that there is an arrangement for the World Health Organisation to facilitate pooled procurement and the equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines across developing countries. Government officials had announced details of their proposed Covid-19 vaccination plan with proposals to spend a total of $576m administering the vaccine to about 72m people at a cost of $8 a shot.