The Nigerian government on Monday said it has started distributing the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to various states across the country.
The Executive Director of National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, made this known at the weekly briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
He said adequate provision had been made to deploy the vaccines to all states and vaccination sites where people would be vaccinated according to set priorities, beginning with the health workers and other support staff.
“All things being equal, the delivery of the vaccines will be completed tomorrow,” Mr Shuaib said.
He explained that the delivery of the vaccines to the states is predicated on satisfactorily meeting the conditions to keep them safe and potent.
“We are designating Vaccine Accountability Officers in the states and LGAs to closely monitor the management and utilisation of the vaccines.”
He said state launch of the COVID-19 vaccination for health workers is slated for March 9 at the state treatment centres, barring any prevailing local conditions.
“Most governors have agreed to flag off on March 10 while the statewide rollout of COVID-19 vaccine will commence from the 12 of March,” he said.
Nigeria on Friday commenced the vaccination of its citizens against COVID-19, beginning with healthcare workers.
About four million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines were delivered to Nigeria through the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Assess Facility (COVAX) on Tuesday.
Cyprian Ngong, a medical doctor, became the first person to receive a jab of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines in Nigeria. Three other health workers also received jabs during the flag-off event.
President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo received jabs of the COVID-19 vaccines on Saturday to drive vaccine acceptance.Members of the PTF also received jabs of the vaccines on Monday.
A report published by the Punch newspapers on Friday had disclosed that the government earmarked N10.6 billion to transport COVID-19 vaccines to the 36 states and the 774 Local Government Areas as well as the Federal Capital Territory and its five area councils. That amount, if true, would be considered highly inflated in a country battling with official corruption.
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The report quoting a document titled, ‘Estimated Budget for States Rollout of COVID-19 Vaccines (end-to-end),’ stated that N1.4 billion was also set aside for the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) while N373 million was earmarked for the purchase of Adverse Events Immunisation kits (AEFI).
According the Punch, the document was presented to the 36 governors during a meeting between representatives of the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Governors Forum on Thursday.
But Mr Shuaib while addressing journalists on Saturday said there is no truth in the report.
“I’m hearing this from you for the first time. It doesn’t make any sense that on one hand, we have communicated clearly to Nigerians that CACOVID has provided a cargo plane that will help deliver the vaccines from Abuja to all states that have functional airports,” he said.
“For those with no airport, there is a delivery van that will convene the vaccines from the airport to those states with no functional airport.”
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