The World Health Organisation-led COVAX global initiative has disqualified Nigeria from the global covid vaccine bid for not meeting the requirement of storing the vaccines at the required-70 degrees Celsius.
According to Punch, Nigeria was expecting to receive 100,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccines through the COVAX initiative, which was set up to ensure rapid and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries, regardless of income level.
But due to its inability to meet the standard requirement of storing the vaccines, Nigeria would no longer be getting the free Pfizer vaccines for the fight against Covid-19.
Speaking at a virtual press conference,the Director, WHO, African Region, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, said only four African countries were shortlisted for the Pfizer vaccine yout of the 13 that applied, noting that WHO could not risk the Pfizer vaccines being wasted.
“Around 320,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have been allocated to four African countries – Cape Verde, Rwanda, South Africa and Tunisia. This vaccine has received WHO Emergency Use Listing but requires countries to store and distribute doses at minus 70 degrees Celsius.
“To access an initial limited Pfizer vaccine volume, countries were invited to submit proposals. Thirteen African countries submitted proposals and were evaluated by a multi-agency committee based on current mortality rates, new cases and trends, and the capacity to handle the vaccine’s ultra-cold chain needs.
“This announcement allows countries to fine-tune their planning for COVID-19 immunisation campaigns. We urge African nations to ramp up readiness and finalise their national vaccine deployment plans. Regulatory processes, cold chain systems and distribution plans need to be in place to ensure vaccines are safely expedited from entry ports to delivery. We can’t afford to waste a single dose,” she said.
The Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Prof Babatunde Salako, told PUNCH that there was not enough space at the moment to store the Pfizer vaccines at that temperature.
But the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, had described the report as fake, saying Nigeria could store the vaccines and had taken journalists on a tour of its facility in Abuja.
KanyiDaily recalls that Microsoft Co-founder, Bill Gates, had advised Nigeria to fix its health sector instead of spending too much on acquiring COVID-19 vaccines.