Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health, has raised the alarm of fake COVID-19 vaccines in circulation.
He said this while speaking at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19’s briefing on Monday.
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“Nigeria is aware of official reports of large scale fraud and counterfeit vaccines that are already in circulation. Since our vaccine needs for this year are virtually fully satisfied by multilateral and bilateral original manufacturer sources, the Ministry of Health does not, for now, intend to procure vaccines from private importers, and no vaccine will be allowed into the country unless they are certified by NAFDAC.
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“The need to involve the private sector in dispensing vaccine will be studied by the vaccine coordinating committee and NPHCDA, who has the mandate to administer vaccines in Nigeria. We must however, remember that the COVID-19 vaccine is not an ordinary routine vaccine, but an unfamiliar, novel vaccine with properties that are still being studied. There may be effects during their administration, for which government must issue indemnification and take responsibility, which will not cover vaccines imported or administered privately, outside of legal framework. We applaud private sector moves to support COVID-19 vaccine financing by the Nigerian private sector, which will be exclusively channelled through the account Nigeria has opened with the Afrexim Bank in Addis Ababa. We shall be happy to discuss the processes and terms further, with members of CA-COVID.
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“There are reports of an offer of 300million doses of Sputnik V vaccines to the AVATT portfolio, which boosts availability to 557million. This would be a great relief to the African region and also increases the variety of vaccines to four. The vaccine coordination committee will advise on the best options for Nigeria, bearing salient factors in mind”, he said.
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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) had last week authorised the use of AstraZeneca vaccines in Nigeria.