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COVID-19 Vaccine: ‘Health and safety of Nigerians is Buhari Administration’s Priority,’ – VP Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the Federal Government of Nigeria intends to examine every possible option in the development and distribution of a vaccine against the COVID-19 disease, as the health and safety of Nigerian citizens is the priority of the Buhari administration.

Mr Osinbajo disclosed this earlier on Wednesday during a virtual meeting with representatives of the BNT162 COVID-19 vaccine candidate on the progress of the vaccine development around the world, including Africa.

The meeting was attended by the 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, the international pharmaceutical firms promoting the BNT162 vaccine candidate.

In a statement released on Wednesday by his spokesperson, Laolu Akande, Mr Osinbajo said the interaction between the FG and the promoters of the vaccine candidate “is an important conversation and 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’s 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.”

During the meeting, the Vice President asked several questions about the COVID-19 vaccine candidate, including how quickly Nigeria can get the vaccine once it is safe.

Responding, the Pfizer Country Manager and Representative in Africa, Mr Subair Olayinka, who spoke for the promoters, disclosed that “Nigeria will be priority,” for the vaccine supply to Africa.

Although the vaccine trials are not going on in Nigeria currently, he said the trials are ongoing in parts of the African continent and it will be entering the third phase, having concluded the first two phases successfully.

Also speaking, the Health Minister noted that the FG will consider quality, appropriate volume and how quickly a vaccine can be delivered to Nigeria in deciding which manufacturer to make the supply.

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