NIGERIA has been told she needs to set aside N540.4bn ($1.4bn) to purchase 218.m doses of the new coronavirus vaccine next month if the nation wants to combat the growing second wave of the pandemic currently sweeping across the globe.
Over the last week, Nigeria has witnessed a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases as the global pandemic has seen a worldwide resurgence. Up until now, Nigeria had no plans to purchase, distribute or administer the vaccine and it had been feared that the country may suffer international travel bans as a result.
According to the World health Organisation (WHO), Africa will need at least $9bn to procure and distribute 1.4bn doses of Covid-19 vaccines. To help fund this, WHO has entered into partnerships with the African Union, the World Bank and Afrexim Bank to support Nigeria and other nations across the continent.
Dr Richard Mihigo, WHO’s immunisation and vaccines development programme coordinator, said: “We will definitely need to vaccinate between 60% and 70% of the African population. So, if you consider that we have about 1.2bn to 1.3bn people on the African continent and you take 60% of that, with the assumption that you will need maybe two doses per population, we are talking about close to 1.3bn to 1.4bn vaccine doses that will be needed to immunise 60% of the people in Africa to reach herd immunity.”
He explained that it was not just about the cost of the vaccines but the cost of delivering them and ensuring that they got to the right locations. Mr Mihigo added that there were no guarantees that there would be enough supplies before the end of 2021.
“So if we compute that number with the preliminary information that we are getting with these vaccine manufacturers because it is not only the cost of the vaccines. There are also additional costs that are needed to deliver those vaccines.
“We know very well that the preliminary rough estimation that is being done, we may need up to $9bn. So, this is a lot of money, a lot of funding that will be needed. First of all, we are not sure that we are going to get enough supply to immunise everybody in Africa by the end of 2021,” Mr Mihigo added.
Nigeria, which has an estimated population of 203m people, is Africa’s most populous country and constitutes 15.6% of the entire population of the continent. Based on the WHO’s estimates on how much it would cost Africa per head, Nigeria will require about $1.4bn to procure and distribute 218,400,000 doses of Covid-19 for double doses for 60% of its population.
Some individual countries are buying the vaccines at different prices based on their negotiating power. Most countries buying from manufacturers were made to sign confidential agreements that they would not disclose the cost of purchase.
However, Belgium’s secretary of state for budget, Eva De Bleeker, has, however, inadvertently revealed the price that the European Union (EU) had agreed to pay vaccines. Although tweet was quickly deleted but this was not before screenshots of the tweet had been taken.
His tweet revealed that the EU paid about $2.1 for each does of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, while Johnson & Johnson’s cost $8.50 each. That of Sanofi/GSK cost $9.29, Pfizer/BioNTech cost $14.76, Moderna was purchased at $18 while Curevac was put at $12.3 per dose.
Belgium, which has a population of 11.4m, is buying more than 33m vaccines for a total of $343m. Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, Nigeria’s minister of state for health, said he along with other health officials would be meeting with the National Assembly on Monday to discuss finances and other issues.