Health

WHO disqualifies Nigeria from first round of COVID-19 vaccine supply

Access Bank

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has disqualified Nigeria from the first round of supply of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

According to WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, Nigeria was disqualified for its inability to meet the requirement of storing the vaccines at -70 degrees Celsius.

It would be recalled that Nigeria with a population of over 200 million people requested 100,000 doses of the vaccine.

Moeti, at a press conference, said WHO could not risk the Pfizer vaccines being wasted.

She said: “Around 320,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have been allocated to four African countries – Cape Verde, Rwanda, South Africa and Tunisia. This vaccine has received WHO Emergency Use Listing but requires countries to be able to store and distribute doses at minus 70 degrees Celsius.

“To access an initial limited volume of Pfizer vaccine, countries were invited to submit proposals. Thirteen African countries submitted proposals and were evaluated by a multi-agency committee based on current mortality rates, new cases and trends, and the capacity to handle the ultra-cold chain needs of the vaccine.

“This announcement allows countries to fine-tune their planning for COVID-19 immunisation campaigns. We urge African nations to ramp up readiness and finalise their national vaccine deployment plans. Regulatory processes, cold chain systems and distribution plans need to be in place to ensure vaccines are safely expedited from ports of entry to delivery. We can’t afford to waste a single dose.

“I have to say that this was a challenging process as we know all countries want to start vaccinating their populations. The supplies were limited but we are glad that we will have a number of countries start and we look forward to working with the other countries to expand this vaccine delivery.”

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), five African nations have already started vaccination.

 

Nigerian Tribune

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