Nigeria has received 300,000 additional doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines, the government said on Monday.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, disclosed this at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
He noted that the vaccines were donated to the government by telecommunications giant – MTN and called on other partners to contribute towards the fight against COVID-19 in the country.
The first batch of 3,924,000 doses of the vaccines arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja on March 2 via an Emirates airplane from India.
Nigeria commenced the exercise three days later with the vaccination of four frontline healthcare workers in Abuja.
At Monday’s briefing, Mustapha, who is also the PTF chairman, described the disclosure that some Nigerian scientists have produced at least two local COVID-19 vaccines which were awaiting clinical trials and certification as significant.
According to him, it is a welcome development that will open a new vista in scientific breakthrough and will boost the morale and image of the medical industry in the country.
The SGF, therefore, called on all relevant agencies to provide the required support and enabling environment for the smooth conduct of the remaining protocols for the certification of the local vaccines.He also hinted that a platform would be created during the week to show Nigerians every information relating to the management of vaccines and the pandemic.
Read the full text of the SGF’s remarks at the briefing below:
REMARKS OF THE CHAIRMAN OF THE PTF-COVID 19 AT THE NATIONAL BRIEFING OF MONDAY, 22ND MARCH, 2021
I welcome you to the National Briefing of the PTF-COVID 19 for Monday, 22nd March 2021.
One year ago, exactly 21st March 2020, a total lockdown was declared by the Government in some parts of the country due to the coronavirus pandemic that hit us.
In the past one year, the socio-economic impact on us cannot be underestimated. Many people lost their livelihood and many people lost loved ones. May their souls find rest with their maker.
Yesterday again, Nigeria recorded the lowest number of cases so far this year. We have also seen a decline in cases in the high burden countries around the African region.
This does not call for us to lower our guards as the virus is still potent and virulent. This is the right time to adhere to the full compliance of the NPIs and be vaccinated.
Although, situations around the world now show some increase in cases, especially in the Americas, Europe, and East Mediterranean regions, which suggests that they could be a third wave, further affirms that non-compliance with COVID-19 regulations and growing evidence of vaccine hesitancy could endanger millions of lives.
Last Friday, I participated in the sensitisation meeting of the Muslim scholars and Imams on COVID-19 vaccination rollout organised by the NPHCDA in collaboration with the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) where we urged the leadership of the Muslim Ummah to mobilise and educate their adherents to take the vaccines because it is safe and efficacious.
The PTF will keep you posted with the number of persons vaccinated so far in as much as our record shows that over seven million persons have been vaccinated in Africa.
A platform will be created in the course of the week to show Nigerians every information relating to the management of vaccines and of course, the pandemic. The ED NPHCDA will give you further updates on this.
Yesterday, Sunday, 21st March 2021, the PTF received 300,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines from MTN Nigeria. This is acknowledged with thanks as we encourage other partners to contribute towards the fight against COVID-19.
The disclosure that Nigerian scientists have produced at least two (2) local COVID-19 vaccines which are awaiting clinical trials and certification is significant.
This is a welcome development that will open a new vista in scientific breakthrough and will boost the morale and image of the medical industry in the country.
I call on all relevant agencies to provide the required support and enabling environment for smooth conduct of the remaining protocols for the certification of these vaccines with a view to encouraging and motivating other researchers.
The PTF had informed you in the past few weeks of the discussions on the KLM & Emirates Airlines services in Nigeria. Today, I would like to inform you that KLM has commenced full operations in and out of Nigeria since 15th March 2021 while operations of the Emirates in and out of the country have been suspended with the exemption of Cargo and Humanitarian flights.
In the course of the week, new travel and quarantine protocols will be unveiled to incorporate persons vaccinated against this virus and make travels safe for international passengers.
Efforts are being put in place for the reopening of the Kano, Port Harcourt, and Enugu international airports. The NIM will update you on this.
I now invite the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, who is standing in for the two Ministers of Health, the DG (NCDC), the NIM, and the ED-NPHCDA to brief you on technical developments.
I thank you for listening.