Nigeria may not get COVID-19 vaccine –Physician
As Nigeria awaits the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines, a public health physician, Dr. Tuyi Mebawondu, says the country may not get any of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
According to Mebawondu, over 60 per cent of vaccines produced have already been bought by western countries through advanced purchase agreements that give them automatic access as the vaccines are being produced.
Speaking with PUNCH Healthwise, the physician said the U.S. is already negotiating another round of 200 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, noting that this might further deprive African countries access.
American political journalism company, Politico, recently reported that the administration of President Joe Biden was poised to buy 200 million more doses of COVID-19 vaccine
“The administration will ship out at least 10 million doses a week under the new strategy,” the medium reported.
Mebawondu noted that the only chance that African countries, including Nigeria, have to access any COVID-19 vaccine, is through the COVAX facility of the World Health Organisation, which aims to procure and deliver two billion doses of approved vaccines to lower-income nations by the end of 2021.
“The initial aim is to have two billion doses available by the end of 2021, which should be enough to protect high risk and vulnerable people, as well as frontline healthcare workers,” COVAX stated on its website.
Mebawondu asked, “The western countries, which are about 14 per cent of the world population, have already taken over 60 per cent of the vaccine production. Where is Nigeria going to get the vaccine from?
“All the Moderna vaccine production for this year has been bought, while 94 per cent of Pfizer vaccine has been bought as well.
“The attempt by the World Health Organisation to buy for 94 African countries under the COVAX alliance is not even guaranteed.
“If it sails through, it will not be enough to vaccinate 30 per cent of the African population.
“As of now, two months after the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines had been launched and are being deployed, no single African country has accessed them.
“If any state government says it has signed an agreement for COVID-19 vaccine, know that it is not true.
“How will such an agreement be reached in the first place? Which of the vaccines are they getting and at what dose each?
“Again, where will the Federal Government get the finance to purchase the vaccines? The only option that might be open to Nigeria is to wait for the COVAX arrangement by the WHO.”
The physician also faulted the sharing formula released for vaccine allocation by the Federal Government, and wondered why Kano State will get 3,557 doses, while Lagos and Abuja, which are epicentres of the pandemic, are assigned 3,131 and 695 doses respectively.