Ignoring the posture of World Health Organisation (WHO), Nigeria says it is working hard to ensure that her citizens have access to the COVID-19 vaccines anytime anywhere it is available. Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General of The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), said this during the Presidential Task Force (PTF) briefing on COVID-19 on Monday in Abuja.
Mr Ihekweazu said that the centre was working in consonance with the global community to ensure this access.
He revealed that data on vaccines against COVID-19 by the global scientific community showed that results on a possible vaccine were expected in the fourth quarter of 2020.
The DG, while noting that a vaccine was the best weapon in taming the virus, however, stressed that equitable access was vital.
In his words, “To do this, we have to build capacity, gather sufficient data and include African institutions in these efforts.
“We have to start preparing the Nigerian population for vaccine delivery when it becomes available.
“Access is a very key issue when it comes to vaccines; that a vaccine is developed does not necessarily translate to being available to those that need it the most.
“So, through the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is working with GAVI to ensure that vaccines are available to countries regardless of their ability to pay.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that GAVI is an international organisation – a global Vaccine Alliance, bringing together public and private sectors with the shared goal of creating equal access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries.
“It’s a work in progress and we are all working with Africa CDC and GAVI to ensure that when a vaccine becomes available, Nigeria’s can have access to it,” NCDC boss said.
He equally stressed the importance of involving involve the private sector and academia in vaccination production.