By Dan-Maryam Zayamu
The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, has disclosed that the COVID-19 vaccines administered in Nigeria are approved by the UK Government
He disclosed this at a media briefing in Abuja, Tuesday.
Shuiab further explained that the UK are also involved with the vaccination program in Nigeria through the Foreign, Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) and that they are optimistic that by the time Nigeria’s COVID-19 vaccination program certification is assessed, it will be approved.
“There are many countries in the world, so we like many other Countries are in the queue for this assessment. Once it gets to our turn, we are more likely than not to get approved in the coming weeks. Like the UK Government have clearly stated, the process of assessment would occur in phases.”
Commenting on the recent statement released by the UK government yesterday on mandatory quarantine, Shuaib said: “Nigeria’s status has not changed. Nigeria is not among the red listed countries that need to mandatory quarantine for 14 days in a supervised UK facility.
“The statement released by the UK Government is in line with the Press statement released last week that Nigerians will continue to isolate upon arrival to the UK.
“This is similar to our requirement to have travelers from the UK, isolate for seven days upon arrival in Nigeria. The Presidential Steering Committee is in the process of reviewing these requirements.
“We have been in touch with the UK Government. The UK Government is yet to comprehensively review Nigeria’s vaccination certification program.”
Shuaib, however, disclosed that his agency has started implementing the decentralization of vaccine utilization by involving the private sector in the vaccine administration.
With this arrangement, private hospitals that meet the criteria will be allotted COVID-19 vaccines to administer to eligible Nigerians.
He said that the decentralization of the COVID-19 vaccination exercise is due the indication that in the next few months, Nigeria will receive huge quantity of COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX facility which needed efficient and faster way to utilize them.
The NPHCDA boss, however, said that the vaccines will be administered at the private health facilities with the support of the government health officials.
Shuaib said: “In the coming months, Nigeria will be receiving more doses of COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX facility.
“We anticipate that the vaccines will be quite large in amount, and therefore will require more efficient and faster ways of utilizing them including expanding access to the vaccines.
“We have, therefore, started implementing the decentralisation of vaccine utilisation by involving the private sector in the vaccine administration.
“Currently, COVID-19 vaccines are available at Government health facilities only. As we decentralize, private health facilities who meet the set criteria will be allocated COVID-19 vaccines, after due training of their immunization service providers. Vaccinations in private health facility will continue with the help of Government health officials.
“Subsequently, clients will be able to access COVID-19 vaccines at both government and private health care facilities in the country.
“This will be done at different levels which would include the States and Local Governments. We are taking every caution to ensure that when implemented, the decentralization policy is not corrupted. Private health care facilities will be carefully selected based on transparent eligibility criteria, and supervision will be maximized to ensure discipline and compliance with safety measures.
“The goal, as I said is to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines and to ensure rapid and safe vaccine utilization.”
Dr. Shuaib, however, revealed that yesterday evening, his agency received 501,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX facility as donation from the Government of France and that it has also gotten confirmation that it will be receiving 3,577,860 doses of Pfizer vaccines within the next two weeks.
By Dan-Maryam Zayamu