The Federal Government stated Nigeria is not in haste to deploy the use of the latest vaccine from pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and BioNTech said to be 90 percent effective in preventing people from contracting COVID-19.
It expressed optimism not only in the assurance the country will have a fair share of the vaccines when available, but that many other vaccines will come on the horizon from which Nigeria can make its choice that best fits its situation.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) also disclosed that apart from the vaccine from Pfizer, there are 10 other vaccine candidates in advanced stage of clinical trial, with 37 vaccine candidates in human trial.
Minister of State for Health, Dr. Adeleke Mamora, while speaking during the briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in Abuja, stated even when the vaccines are ready, Nigeria will have to work to ensure the vaccines are stored at minus 70 degrees centigrade.
He said: “Regarding the vaccine, as at the moment, we have so many vaccine candidates. The latest we have right now is the Pfizer – the one which we are told or already have been established to have minimum of 90 percent success rate. Having said that, we are still looking at what will happen eventually.
“What I mean is that, we do know that this is a vaccine that has to be kept at nothing less than minus 70 degrees centigrade; that is a huge thing to achieve.
“We don’t know at the end of the day which of the vaccines will be suitable for our own situation. Because even the technology to get the vaccine below that kind of temperature is an issue. We are waiting to see what happens.
“Having said that, I can also tell you that we have bio-vaccine group in Nigeria that is working with various bodies throughout the world that are making efforts in vaccine production against COVID-19. We will look at the one that suits our purpose at the end of the day, and decide what to do in our own circumstance.”
Country Representative of the WHO, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo, said: “COVAX is launched as a mechanism first to accelerate vaccine development so that more doses could be made available in a short time.
“We had communication from Pfizer about the early indication of the efficacy of the vaccine, and some economies are reserving some dose.
“But through the COVAX initiative, WHO was clear that if we are to control this pandemic, we have to vaccine first 20 percent of the population who are most vulnerable, not in one country, but everywhere in the world. That is the only chance we can get to control this pandemic through vaccination.”