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COVID-19

Concerns mount as Nigeria’s COVID-19 cases exceed 100,000

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  • FG to spend $576m on vaccines, immunise 70% of people at risk

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control says the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country has risen to 100,087.

It also said 1,358 people had died while 80,030 patients out of the total 100,087 cases had been discharged as of Sunday, January 10, 2021.

The data showed 18,699 active cases are in Nigeria, with Lagos and FCT having 6,858 and 5,563 respectively.

Statistics from the NCDC’s website also indicated that the country recorded 1,024 new cases in 16 states and the FCT on January 10, 2020.

The NCDC said, “On the 10th of January 2021, 1,024 new confirmed cases and eight deaths were recorded in Nigeria.

“Till date, 100,087 cases have been confirmed, 80,030 cases have been discharged and 1,358 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

“The 1024 new cases are reported from 17 states- Lagos (653), Plateau (63), Benue (48), Zamfara (45), FCT (42), Rivers (27), Ondo (26), Adamawa (26), Kaduna (22), Edo (18), Ogun (16), Imo (12), Kano (9), Yobe (6), Ekiti (5), Jigawa (4) and Osun (2).

“A multi-sectoral national emergency operations centre, activated at Level 3, continues to coordinate the national response activities.”

Meanwhile, Nigeria may spend $576 million to procure COVID-19 vaccines with the government planning to immunise 70 per cent of people at risk of the virus.

The Director of National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, gave the hint.

He also said free vaccine to immunise 20 per cent of those to be vaccinated would be made available to the country and 91 other countries by the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunisation (GAVI).

The first batch of 100,000 Pfizer vaccine doses from the COVAX facility will arrive in the country at the end of this month or early next month.

It will be used in two jabs each on 50,000 Nigerians.

To meet up with vaccination of 50 per cent of Nigerians, the government will need to pay $8 for two doses each.

According to the United Nations data and the National Population Commission (NPC), Nigeria’s population is 206 million.

Nigeria’s target is to vaccinate 70 per cent (144.2 million) of its 206 million people.

At the rate of $8 for two doses per person, it will spend at least $576m to vaccinate 50 per cent (72.1 million) of the 144.2 million people.

Should the country choose to vaccinate a half of its total population, which is about 103,000,000, it will spend about $824 milion.

Shuaib said, “The country is expecting only one vaccine (i.e. Pfizer mRNA COVID-19 vaccine) in the first batch coming in by end of January/early February.

“The country is not buying any COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer or China. The country plans to get COVID-19 vaccines from two sources: the GAVI and direct purchase from alternative sources (other manufacturers).

“From the COVAX facility source, GAVI will be supporting 92 eligible countries with vaccines to immunise about 20 per cent of their population free in 2021.

“The government of the participating countries will pay for additional doses above the 20 per cent to be supplied by GAVI. Pfizer is one of the companies that GAVI will get limited quantity of the COVID-19 vaccines from to give to the 92 eligible countries (including Nigeria).”

He added, “Since only about 20 per cent supplies are being expected from GAVI; the country’s team is working with Russian authorities on the possibility of getting additional COVID 19 vaccines from them.

“In 2021, about $4.0/dose ($8.0/person for two doses) is being budgeted for the additional vaccine that the country will require.

“The Federal Government will be responsible for the procurement of additional COVID-19 vaccines for 50 per cent of the population and all the operational costs for the targeted 70 per cent of the population.”

The NPHCDA boss said COVID-19 vaccination would not be compulsory, but made available to all those targeted.

“And we advise/appeal to all Nigerians at risk to avail themselves of the vaccination willingly when the vaccines are available. Vaccines to be used in the country are safe with proven efficacy of above 90 per cent.

“All vaccines acquired by the government for vaccination of its citizen will pass through NAFDAC for analysis before use.”

Shuaib said the Federal Government had raised a Technical Working Group (TWG) to plan a successful COVID-19 immunisation.

Shuaib chairs the TWG whose members are stakeholders involved in COVID-19 response. These are: FMoH, NPHCDA, NCDC, NAFDAC, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Federal Ministry of Information, National Orientation Agency (NOA), NTA, CSOs, Professional bodies and Organised Private Sectors. Other members are development partners and donors.

The WHO and other International NGOs/Foundations will provide technical support to the team.

Speaking on the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines, Shuaib said, “COVID-19 vaccines that have been pre-qualified will protect against most strains and reduce morbidity and mortality from the disease. It will be better to reduce the risk than not want to take the vaccine.”

He added, “There are over 80 strains of Rotavirus, but only about 18 of the strains are of significance that can cause major diseases. Available Rotavirus vaccines can prevent against infection from the strains that cause the diseases.

“Coronavirus is linked to the SAR-2 Group of viruses; and there have been a lot of researches since the last flu-pandemic that claimed several lives globally.”

COVID-19

Ogun bags best performing state award in RI, Covid-19 vaccination

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Ogun State Deputy Governor, Engr. Noimot Salako-Oyedele

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has declared Ogun  as the overall best performing state in the SouthWest on Routine Immunisation (RI) and Covid-19 Vaccination.

This was contained in a statement made available by the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Tomi Coker in Abeokuta, after the conferment of the award at the Immunisation Performance Award ceremony, held in commemoration of the 2022 African Vaccination Week in Abuja.

Coker, according to the Press Officer, Ogun State Primary Health Care Development Board (OGSPHCDB),  Yemisi Fashola, quoted that the award was in recognition of the state’s commitment and support towards improving the performance on Routine Immunisation and other primary health care activities in the country.

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The Commissioner stated that the award was received by the Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, who was represented by his Deputy, Engr. Noimot Salako-Oyedele.

While appreciating the Federal Government for deeming it fit to recognize the efforts of the State government at improving the wellbeing of its citizenry, Coker attributed the award to the support and hard work of the total health force, as well as the cooperation of residents in the State.

The Health Commissioner, who hailed the health workers for their efforts, said the African vaccination week was geared towards strengthening immunisation programmes in African region, by increasing awareness on the importance of every person’s need and right to be protected from vacation- preventable diseases.

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COVID-19: NAFDAC boss confirms Nigeria’s vaccines meet global standard

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NAFDAC Director General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has confirmed that vaccines produced in Nigeria including those for COVID-19, will be of “internationally acceptable standard”.

NAFDAC Director General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, made the affirmation in a press statement signed by the Agency’s Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola

Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, the statement indicated made the disclosure during an oversight visit to the NAFDAC facilities and COVID-19 laboratory projects in Lagos last week Friday, by the House of Representatives Committee on COVID-19.

She described the Federal government’s FG huge spending on the fight against the virus as exemplified by the construction of the new laboratory, equipped with modern instruments and amenities at the Agency as a wake-up call for the country.

Prof. Adeyeye noted with dismay that the health sector had hitherto been neglected before the present administration responded through the COVID-19 Committees of the National Assembly, ‘’particularly the members that are here today’’.

In order to ensure that the health sector is strengthened, the NAFDAC asserted that the regulatory Agency must be strengthened.

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“If the regulatory agency is not strengthened, the industry will not be strengthened,’’ she said, adding; ‘’we have the African Free trade Agreement already here with us now for the nation’s pharmaceutical industry to take advantage of with quality products.’’

She added: ‘’there will be a lot of competition and if NAFDAC’s laboratory is not strengthened, we will not be able to compete’’.

‘’For vaccines, we are hoping that the vaccine facilities from the public- private partnership will soon happen’’, warning that ‘’but if the regulatory agency is not strong, we can make vaccines that will destroy our own people’’.

With NAFDAC now very strong with WHO Maturity Level 3 certification, Prof. Adeyeye enthused that ‘’Nigeria can now make her own vaccines and we can assure the populace that there is quality in whatever is being manufactured because of NAFDAC’s strength’’.

On the impact of COVID-19 fund has, she said this should resonate well with the whole country, that if you put the right people in the right places, then the vision of the government can be realized.

‘’Whatever approvals that are being given by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on funding our activities, you can actually touch such and this is what has happened here today’’, Prof. Adeyeye excitedly told the visiting lawmakers.

She commended the House COVID-19 committee, and the Healthcare Services Committee of the 9th Assembly for committing to ensuring that NAFDAC as a regulatory agency is known internationally.

Speaking in the same vein, Chairman, House Committee on COVID-19, Haruna Mshelia commended the NAFDAC boss and her team for leveraging on latest technology to upgrade the Agency to a standard that is next to none in Africa.

“We have seen with our eyes how they have leveraged on latest technology to upgrade the organization to a standard that is next to none in Africa. I think they need to be commended. We have seen the warehouse. We have now seen the laboratory which is under construction. They have gone very far, and the standard of the construction is good’’, he said.

He added: “We have also seen the equipment awaiting to be installed in the laboratories. I have to say kudos to the DG and her team for getting good value for money as far as COVID-19 funds for NAFDAC is concerned. Other Agencies should come to NAFDAC and learn how they have leveraged on ICT to move their organization forward so that everywhere our standard can be uplifted with everyone seeing it” Mshelia advised.

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FG to test locally-made COVID-19 vaccine in November

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The COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Federal Government is set for trial by November

The PUNCH reports that the project, which is a mega research grant intervention tagged,  ‘Accelerated development of COVID-19 vaccines using innovative technological approach’, is a collaborative effort involving cluster researchers from five different institutions to consolidate problem-solving research and promote innovation in the country.

The PUNCH had earlier reported that Tertiary Education Trust Fund awarded a total of N1.25bn to four clusters of researchers.

One of the clusters, which is the Vaccine Production Cluster, got a total grant of N450m.

According to a statement by TETFUND and made available to our correspondent in Abuja, the VPC is made up of researchers from the National Veterinary Research Institute Vom; Usman Danfodiyo University Sokoto; Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Jos; Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Lagos; and National Research Institute for Chemical Technology, Zaria.

The statement titled, ‘TETFund-sponsored COVID-19 vaccine ready for trial November’ read in part, “The Vice Chancellor of Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Prof Lawal Bilbis, who led the team of researchers to brief the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Sonny Echono, on the progress so far explained that they were able to make the breakthrough through the maximum support of the fund.

“He recalled how the COVIC-19 pandemic ravaged and unleashed untold hardship on humanity globally, noting that Nigeria was only saved by divine intervention, since the nation was not prepared for such eventuality.

“TETFund believed in us and supported us to get to where we are now. That is why we have come to give a firsthand report on the progress made so far.”

A presentation by Dr Bashir Bello of Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, revealed that it had become a matter of urgency for Africa to join the rest of the world in the production of its own vaccine, as it was estimated that the continent currently imports 99 per cent of its vaccines and consumes 25 per cent of global vaccine supply.

-The Punch

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