Nigeria open to development, distribution of COVID-19 vaccine, VP Osinbajo says

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that the Federal Government is ready to examine every possible option in the development and distribution of a vaccine against the COVID-19 disease.

Disclosing this in a statement on Wednesday, in Abuja, Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, said the vice president spoke at a virtual meeting with representatives of Pfizer and Biotech pharmaceutical firms.

Pfizer and Biotech are the international pharmaceutical firms promoting the BNT162 vaccine candidate.

He said the meeting was attended by Health Minister, Dr Osagie Ehanire, and the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, with representatives of Pfizer and Biotech.

According to Osinbajo, the interaction between the Federal Government and the promoters of the vaccine candidate is an important conversation.

ALSO READ: Nigeria: NNPC signs $1.5 bn oil prepay deal with traders Vitol, Matrix

“It is important for us that we are prioritised as the largest country in Africa in the distribution of the best COVID-19 vaccine when it is 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,” he said.

The vice president asked several questions about the COVID-19 vaccine candidate including how quickly Nigeria could get the vaccine once it was safely ready.

Responding, Mr Subair Olayinka, the Pfizer Country Manager and Representative in Africa, who spoke for the promoters, said that Nigeria would be a priority for the vaccine supply to Africa.

He said that although the vaccine trials were not going on in Nigeria at present, the trials were ongoing in parts of the African continent.

Olayinka said that the trials would be entering the third phase having concluded the first two phases successfully.

On his part, Ehanire said that the Federal Government would consider quality, appropriate volume and how well and quick a vaccine could be delivered to Nigeria in deciding which manufacturer to make the supply.