Nigeria has written to the African Union requesting 10 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to supplement the COVAX program Which it said on Tuesday the country has the capacity to store up to 400,000 doses of the expected Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
Nigeria is leveraging on the provisional 250 million COVID-19 vaccine doses secured by the African Union from manufacturers for member states which was disclosed last week by Cyril Ramaphosa, chair AU, South African President.
And on top of this, Nigeria’s health minister, Osagie Ehanire has disclosed on Monday that $26 million has been allocated already for licensed vaccine production.
“Nigeria has written to express interest in 10 million doses of the viral vector vaccine, which could be supplied as from March 2021,” Health Minister Osagie Ehanire told reporters in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
“This vaccine does not require deep freezers.” Ehanire did not mention though, the name of the vaccine.
It would be recalled that last week the finance minister, Zainab Ahmed had said that government was working on the type and quantity of COVID-19 vaccines to procure and would make financial provision for them.
The health minister also said the ministry of finance had released 10 billion naira ($26.27 million) to support domestic vaccine output as Nigeria was exploring options of “licensed production in collaboration with recognized institutions”. The government is already in talks with “one or two producers.”
Nigerian authorities have said the country is working with the COVAX programme backed by the World Health Organization (WHO) that aims to secure fair access to COVID-19 vaccines for poor countries and expects to receive its first doses in late January and early February.
Nigeria is expected to receive 100,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine by the end of January.
The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib disclosed the county’s storage capacity during a tour of the National Strategic Cold Store in Abuja.
The Pfizer vaccines must be stored at the ultra-cold temperature of -70°C. The NSCS houses three ultra-cold chain equipment. The three pieces of equipment have a combined capacity of 2,100 litres and operate at a temperature of -85 degrees Celsius, according to Shuaib.