Former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said that Covid19 vaccine will be available for use in Nigeria and some other African countries by January, 2021 through the first quarter of next year, a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reveals.
This was disclosed in a statement after Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama had a closed door meeting with Okonjo-Iweala in Abuja.
During the meeting, she was quoted as saying
As long as one person has it in the world, no one is safe. And that is why poorer countries, lower-middle-income countries like Nigeria, need to get it as quickly as possible
So, the Pfizer vaccine, the AstraZeneca, those are being negotiated now so that poor countries don’t have to stand in line behind rich countries.
So, we hope they are starting by the end of January. We will be able to reach these countries, including most of the African countries, Nigeria included, will be able to get access to some of these vaccines.
Initially, it will be for frontline health workers, followed by some other target groups – older people, those with underlying conditions, and then, from there, the rest of the population. I think the COVAX facility can cover maybe 20-23 per cent of the population by the end of next year.
Okonjo-Iweala is currently the African Union Special Envoy on mobilising international economic support for the continental fight against COVID-19 and Nigeria’s candidate for the Office of the Director-General of the World Trade Organization.
She disclosed that international initiatives, involving the World Health Organisation, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, GAVI, and the international community, are planning to get vaccines delivered to developing and poorer countries, in an affordable manner and quickly.