FILE PHOTO: Small bottles labeled with a “Vaccine COVID-19” sticker and a medical syringe are seen in this illustration taken taken April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

COVID-19 vaccines may arrive in Nigeria on January 19, 2021, Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has hinted.

He said a technical working group had begun work on modalities for the project.

Addressing State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over yesterday by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja, the minister stated: “We have signed up with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Gavi for access to vaccines immediately they are available. But you know that these vaccines are new and are in packets, and the producers are not giving any indemnity.

“The countries where these vaccines are manufactured, have of course, given themselves the priority to serve themselves, serve their own citizens first and we hope that the pressure from WHO and Gavi will be able to get reserves for other countries that are not manufacturing so that they can sign up.

“We signed up for advanced market participation in Cobax. So, if we will be able to get our own, I think it will be in January.”

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He continued: “But there are two types of vaccines. There are those that have to be in ultra-deep freezers – the MRA type. That is the freezer that must give you Minus 80 Degree.

“There is another type that has to be in the deep freezer of Minus 20 Degree, and there is another type that can be in Minus 2 Degree refrigerators. This is the regular refrigerator. The one that will be in regulator refrigerators is easy. We have them here.”

“So, we are working on the cost. Which one shall we get first? Obviously, the one we can afford. Remember that we have 200 million citizens. We need to be able to get enough to take care of our citizens. So, that means we must be able to get the vaccines that work well, with good storage and delivery cost. That is the one we will like to get as soon as they are available.”

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