The vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has made a case for Nigeria to be accorded priority when the COVID-19 vaccine is ready for distribution
Spokesman for the vice president, Mr. Laolu Akande said in a statement that Osinbajo kick-started the negotiation yesterday at a virtual meeting with representatives of the BNT162 COVID-19 vaccine candidate on the progress of vaccine development across the world, including Africa.
Osinbajo was quoted as requesting his co-discussants that Nigeria must be given priority when COVID-19 vaccine is ready for distribution
He 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 prioritised-as the largest country in Africa-in the distribution of the best COVID-19 vaccine when it is eventually ready,” he said.
He said the federal government intended to examine every possible option in the development and distribution of any COVID-19 vaccine adding that the health and safety of Nigerian citizens is the priority of the government.
“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 COVID-19 vaccine candidate including how quickly Nigeria could get the vaccine once it is safely ready.
Responding, the Pfizer country manager and representative of Pfizer in Africa, Mr. Subair Olayinka who spoke for the promoters, said “Nigeria will be priority,” for the vaccine supply to Africa.
He said the vaccine was not being tested in Nigeria currently, it was undergoing trials in parts of the African continent and would be entering the third phase, having concluded the first two phases successfully.
The meeting was attended by the minister of health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire and the executive director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaib with representatives of Pfizer and Biotech, the international pharmaceutical firms promoting the BNT162 vaccine candidate.