The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has expressed optimism that the country’s efforts towards procuring effective vaccines for the COVID-19 pandemic will begin to yield results from January 2021.
He disclosed this on Wednesday while addressing newsmen after the 28th virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting held at Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said they had already commenced bilateral talks with manufacturing companies and countries that had developed solutions.
He, however, identified the delicateness of storage of some types of vaccines and cost of storage as some of the factors being considered in shopping for the products.
“We have a technical working group working on the question of the vaccine. We have signed up with the World Health Organisation and GAVI for access to vaccines immediately they are available. But you know that these vaccines are new and the producers are, first of all, not giving any indemnity.
“The big countries where these vaccines are manufactured are of course giving themselves the priority to serve their own citizens first and we hope that the pressure from the World Health Organisation and GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation) will be able to get a reserve for other countries which themselves are not manufacturing and be able to attend to what we signed up to; we signed up for the advanced market participation of the COVAX,” he said.
Meanwhile, the council meeting was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja and joined by President Muhmmadu Buhari from his country home in Daura, Katsina State.
The meeting took some critical decisions, which include approvals for procurement of essential drugs for HIV-AIDS treatment, equipment for cancer treatment for University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, first in North-Eastern States.
Approval was also given for a contract to construct an 11 storey building to serve as headquarters of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in Abuja.
The meeting also received the last batch of reports from ministers on ENDSARS interactions in their states.
Similarly, the Federal Government has denied approving a fine of N20,000 for the non-usage of facemasks in public places amidst the growing fears of possible nationwide lockdown due to the rising infection cases of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu, told Daily Trust that, such report should be ignored.
There were social media reports that the Federal Government has imposed a N20,000 fine for ‘No Mask in Public’.
But Dr. Aliyu told Daily Trust that “Who pronounced that? I am definitely not aware of this. You guys should not be relying on social media for your news.”