Nigeria may spend around $576 million to procure COVID-19 vaccine, it was gathered at the weekend.
The government plans to immunise 70 per cent of Nigerians who are at risk of the virus, Director of National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHDA) Dr. Faisal Shuaib said.
According to him, free vaccine to immunise 20 per cent of those to be vaccinated, will 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 data made available by 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 $576million to vaccinate 50 per cent (72.1million) of the 144.2million people.
Should the country choose to vaccinate half of its total population, which is about 103,000,000, it will spend about $824milion.
Dr. 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 (2) 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 is 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 will not be compulsory, but will be made available to all those targeted.
“And we advise / appeal to all Nigerians at risk to avail themselves of 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 has raised a Technical Working Group (TWG) to plan a successful COVID-19 immunisation.
Dr Shuaib chairs the TWG whose members are stakeholders involved in COVID-19 response. These are: FMoH, NPHCDA, NCDC, NAFDAC, Federal Min 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, Dr. 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 has been a lot of researches since the last Flu- pandemic that claimed several lives globally.”