he ravaging coronavirus pandemic, last year,
led to huge human, economic and other loses
in the global community prompting agitations
for vaccines which made many countries and economies to invest heavily in developing candidate vaccines.
As nations battle the second wave, Nigeria is
in the COVAX facility with other 191 participating
countries, which is the mainstay of the country's
expected access to safe and effective vaccines. The
COVAX facility has in the portfolio approved vaccines as
Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna and the OxfordAstraZeneca, with hundreds of candidates vaccines still in
As Nigeria contends with the second wave of the
pandemic, which has been on the rise lately, there are
mixed reactions concerning the use of imported vaccines
to stem the tide in the country. While some speak in its
favour, others are opposed to it, expressing lack of
confidence in the vaccines.
Virologists have advised the Federal Government
against the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine at the
moment, saying it was unnecessary to introduce it now to
Nigerians. Rather, they suggest the Federal Government
should allow people to still use their herd immunity, which
is a natural gift, and rather concentrate on the few
people who have some medical conditions that have
made their level of herd immunity very low. To them, use
of imported vaccine was dangerous because we do not
know the long term effects.
Just recently, the executive director and chief executive officer, National Primary Health Care Development
Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, said during the
Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing in Abuja
that about 82 million Nigerians would be vaccinated with
the available and approved COVID-19 vaccines this
year. The figure represents 40 per cent of the Nigerian
population, estimated at 206 million.
Shuaib added that the country was expecting 42
million doses of vaccines from the COVAX facility of
the World Health Organisation (WHO). By the end of
January this year, Nigeria will receive 100,000 doses
of the Pfizer vaccine, he said, noting that frontline
health care workers, strategic leaders, and the vulnerable, comprising the elderly and those with underlying
illnesses, would be priority targets to receive the
vaccine this year.
On the other hand, the minister of Foreign Affairs,
Geoffrey Onyeama, said on Tuesday, January 5,
2021, after a bilateral meeting with China's Foreign
Affairs Minister, Wang Yi, who was on a 2-day working visit in Abuja, that the Federal Government has
opened talks with the Peoples Republic of China to
have access to COVID-19 vaccines for the citizens.
Although state governors are among those who would
like to demonstrate on live Television to citizens that they
believe the imported vaccines would work, they have
urged the Federal Government to expedite actions
towards ensuring local production of COVID-19 vaccine
instead of completely relying on the imported ones.
Chairman, Nigeria Governors Forum, Kayode
Fayemi, told State House correspondents, Friday, after
meeting with the President Muhammadu Buhari, at the
Presidential Villa, Abuja, that it was the view of state
governors that the nation needed to ramp up manufacturing of vaccines locally, and that religious leaders and
celebrities be included among those that will be vaccinated in public to boost people's confidence in the
He said, "Our view is that ultimately, we really need to
ramp up the 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
"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 so that we can produce the vaccines here in Nigeria
and not be dependent on what is coming from other
Since there is no clarity on when the vaccines would
arrive Nigeria, it is expedient for Nigerians not to let off
their guards against the virus, as the vaccination does not
guarantee immediate cure.
Nigerians must continue to rely on the efficacy of the
range of non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as the
use of facemasks, avoiding crowded gatherings, constant
practice of physical hygiene and social distancing,
among other guidelines and protocols.
Corporate organizations must intensify efforts
towards curbing the spread of the second wave of the
virus, by enforcing all preventive measures.