Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has expressed the intention of the Federal Government to examine every possible option in the development and distribution of a vaccine against the COVID-19 disease.
Osinbajo spoke on Wednesday during a virtual meeting with representatives of the BNT162 COVID-19 vaccine candidate on the progress of the vaccine development around the world, including Africa.
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The vice president, while speaking at the meeting attended by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire and the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib with representatives of Pfizer and Biotech, the international pharmaceutical firms promoting the BNT162 vaccine candidate, said the health and safety of Nigerian citizens is the priority of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
According to him, the interaction between the Federal Government and the promoters of the vaccine candidate “is an important conversation and it is important for us that we are prioritized-as the largest country in Africa-in the distribution of the best COVID-19 vaccine when it’s eventually ready.
“Our priority is the health of the Nigerian citizens. We continue to engage and intend to look at every possible option -from all manufacturers- of a good vaccine. We want to do the very best for our people in this regard.”
Laolu Akande, the spokesman to the nation’s number two man, in a statement issued, said the vice president asked several questions about the the COVID-19 vaccine candidate including how quickly can Nigeria get the vaccine once it’s safely ready.
Responding, the Pfizer Country Manager and Representative in Africa, who spoke for the promoters, Mr. Subair Olayinka disclosed that “Nigeria will be priority,” for the vaccine supply to Africa.
Although the vaccine trials are not going on in Nigeria currently he said the trails are ongoing in parts of the African continent and it would be entering the third phase, having concluded the first two phases successfully.
Also speaking the Health Minister noted that the Federal Government would consider quality, appropriate volume and how well and quick a vaccine can be delivered to Nigeria in deciding which manufacturer to make the supply.