The Federal Government has said the private sector is not authorised to import COVID-19 vaccines into the country under whatever guise.
Olorunnimbe Mamora, the Minister of State for Health, disclosed this in an interview on Tuesday.
Nigeria began its vaccination programme last Friday following the delivery of 3.94 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine by COVAX, an initiative set up by the United Nations and other development partners to help low and middle-income countries get access to the vaccine.
According to Mamora, all vaccines being brought into the country must come through the Federal Government.
The minister stated that the government would not be responsible for any issues faced by private importers of the vaccine as they have not been permitted to undertake such activity.
“Before any vaccine will be given by any manufacturer, there must have been an indemnity clause and that is why we made it clear that any vaccine that does not come in through the right government channel, we will not allow it because if it is not coming in through government, we cannot take responsibility for it,” Mamora told the Punch.
“We have been making this clear to everyone and we are not inclined to at this point allow private sector participation in terms of bringing in the vaccines unless private sector is going to pay into the account of the Afrexim Bank and then the vaccines can then be supplied from the source that we can verify and that we know.
“The government is going to be responsible for the indemnity signed and that is why we are not making it compulsory. It is not compulsory but it is desirable that people take the vaccine.”