FG Begins Negotiation for COVID-19 Vaccine Supply

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo SAN in a virtual meeting
  •  We’ll prioritise Nigeria in Africa, says Pfizer

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

The federal government has commenced negotiations with prospective distributors of COVID-19 vaccines to Nigeria ahead of their availability.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo Osinbajo kick-started the negotiations yesterday on behalf of Nigeria at a virtual meeting with representatives of the BNT162 COVID-19 vaccine candidate on the progress of vaccine development across the world, including Africa.

At the meeting, the vice-president told his co-discussants that Nigeria must be given priority when COVID-19 vaccine is ready for distribution.

According to him, the federal government will explore every possible option in the development and distribution of a vaccine against COVID-19 pandemic because health and safety of Nigerians is the priority of the federal government.

The vice-president’s spokesman, Mr Laolu Akande, in a statement, said 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.

Osinbajo said interaction between the federal government and promoters of the vaccine candidate “is an important conversation and it is important for us that we are prioritized-as the largest country in Africa-in the distribution of the best COVID-19 vaccine when it’s eventually ready.”

He added: “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.”

Akande said during the meeting, the vice-president asked several questions about COVID-19 vaccine candidate including how quickly Nigeria can get the vaccine once it’s safely ready.

He said Pfizer Country Manager and Representative in Africa, Mr. Subair Olayinka, who spoke on behalf of promoters of the vaccine, assured the vice-president that “Nigeria will be a priority,” for the vaccine supply to Africa.

Akande said although COVID-19 vaccine trials are not going on in Nigeria at present, the trials are nonetheless ongoing in some parts of Africa and will be entering the third phase, having concluded the first two phases successfully.

He said Ehanire in his remarks, disclosed that the federal government would consider quality, appropriate volume and how well and quick a vaccine could be delivered to Nigeria as the deciders of the choice of manufacturers to make the supply to Nigeria.