COVID-19: Govs Worry about Vaccines’ Delivery, Demand Local Production

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Kayode Fayemi

•Fayemi: There is nothing as good as having the ability to manufacture our own vaccines locally
•US records 4000 deaths in one day

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

Nigerian state governors want the federal government to expedite actions on local production of COVID-19 vaccine instead of relying on foreign pharmaceutical firms.

The governors are also not comfortable with the lack of clarity on when the vaccines will arrive Nigeria, and told President Muhammadu Buhari to accelerate the delivery.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, Kayode Fayemi, disclosed this yesterday after a meeting he had with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Nigeria is expecting the delivery of 100,000 COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX, the global initiative by the World Health Organisation, aimed at ensuring rapid and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for its 190 participating countries.

All COVAX’s 190 participating and eligible economies will be able to access doses to protect vulnerable groups in the first half of 2021, contingent upon regulatory approvals and countries’ readiness for delivery.

Fayemi, who is the governor of Ekiti State, said he seized the opportunity of the meeting with the President to review a number of issues that are of interest to him and his fellow state governors and listed the issues to include security, economy, vaccines management and the general outlook for 2021.
The governor said they discussed the need to include religious leaders and celebrities among those that will be vaccinated in public to boost people’s confidence.
He said it is the view of the state governors that the nation needs to ramp up manufacturing of vaccines locally.

Fayemi said: “For us as governors, the number one priority in vaccine management relates to public health and risk communication. I commended the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 for at least, wanting to use Mr. President and the Vice President as their publicity vehicles for reassuring those who may have their doubts about vaccines use that this is no threat to them.
“You know there are cultural and religious concerns in various parts and at the state level, we are reviewing that with all of our colleagues.

“But the good thing is Mr. President has agreed with me that he would convey to the PTF the necessity of using other influencers, maybe the chief Imams, the Bishops, top musicians, our sports personalities.
“The more of such people are seen taking the vaccines, the more the likelihood of resistance will break down in our various localities. So, we discussed that.

“Of course, procurement of vaccines was also discussed. Our view is that ultimately, we really need to ramp up manufacturing of vaccines locally. It is okay that COVAX, which Nigeria is part of, is going to be delivering some vaccines to us. As we understand, the first 100,000 and then 43 million and ultimately 165 million doses.

“But there is nothing as good as having the ability to manufacture our own vaccines locally. We understand that there is a partnership with May & Baker, which is important for the federal government to really accelerate the process so that we can produce the vaccines here in Nigeria and not be dependent on what is coming from other parts.”

“Those of us at the receiving end in the states know that this is an issue we also need to ramp up our own preparedness, in terms of getting our states ready for vaccines storage particularly, the freezers and cold chains that will be required for that process. We need to get ourselves ready at the state level. The federal government can procure but we will receive and administer in our various states and there is a lot of work to be done in that respect,” the governor said.

51 Per Cent of Lagos Bed Spaces Occupied

Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Akin Abayomi, says 51 percent of beds in both private and public COVID-19 care centres in the state have been occupied.
This means that only one out of two beds in such hospitals is vacant.
In a tweet yesterday, the commissioner gave an update on the coronavirus situation in the state.

“The bed occupancy in both public and private #COVID19Lagos Care Centres has increased to 51%. Oxygen usage is also on the increase at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba,” he tweeted.
According to the commissioner, as of Wednesday, a total of 34,169 cases have been confirmed in the state with 807 new infections.

He said 3,032 patients have been discharged from COVID-19 Lagos care centres.
Two hundred and forty-six people have died from the virus in the state.
Earlier yesterday, the commissioner announced the inauguration of the new Armoured Shield Isolation Centre.
Abayomi said the new isolation centre is fully equipped to provide all levels of care to COVID-19 patients.

“Today, I was with the Governor of Lagos State @jidesanwoolu to officially commission the new Armoured Shield Isolation Centre powered by @ReddingtonLagos, in its effort to support @followlasg in the fight against the second wave of #COVID19,” he said.

US Records 4000 Deaths in One Day

The United States has recorded over 4,000 COVID-19 deaths in 24 hours, setting an all-time high record.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the US recorded 4,085 deaths and nearly 275,000 new cases, on Thursday.

This is the third consecutive day of record-breaking daily deaths from the coronavirus in the US.
States such as California, Arizona, Texas and Florida have recorded a surge in cases and deaths from the virus.
More than 365,000 people have died of COVID-19, while over 22 million cases have been recorded in the country.

Jerome Adams, US surgeon general, asked states to expand vaccination beyond phase 1a recommendations – which include health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities.
“States not only can, but should aggressively expand vaccinations to other phases if current supply exceeds demand in phase 1a,” he wrote, on Twitter.

Globally, over 88 million coronavirus cases have been recovered — although more than 63 million have been discharged.
More than 1.9 million infected COVID-19 patients have died across the world with US being the worst-hit country.
As the world battles with the second wave of the virus, the European Union (EU) doubled its purchase of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, buying additional 300 million doses.