Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said the federal government intends to examine every possible option in the development and distribution of a vaccine against COVID-19, as the health and safety of Nigerian citizens is the priority of the Buhari administration.
By Ajala Samuel Akindele
Mr Osinbajo disclosed this on Wednesday 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 was attended by the health minister, Osagie Ehanire, and the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib, with representatives of Pfizer and Biotech, the international pharmaceutical firms promoting the BNT162 vaccine candidate.
In a statement released by his spokesperson, Laolu Akande, on Wednesday, Mr Osinbajo said the interaction between the federal government 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 the COVID-19 vaccine candidate including how quickly can Nigeria get the vaccine once it is ready.
Responding, the Pfizer Country Manager and Representative in Africa, who spoke for the promoters, 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 trials are ongoing in parts of the African continent and would be entering the third phase, having concluded the first two phases successfully.
Also speaking, the health minister noted that the federal government 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.