Only 40 percent of Nigerians will receive the COVID19 vaccine in 2021, Faisal Shuaib, head of the country’s primary healthcare agency has said.
Shuaib said Nigeria is expected to get its first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines by the end of January.
He said Nigeria is taking delivery of the vaccine “as part of its plan to inoculate 40% of the population this year and a further 30% next year.”
By the end of January, 100,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are expected to arrive, he said.
On the first batch of recipients, the NPHCDA boss said there are four main priority groups for 2021 and 2022.
Shuaib listed health workers and other identified frontline workers in the country, the elderly (50 years and above), and persons less than 50 years but with co-morbid conditions and areas with high disease burden.
He also underscored popular resistance to vaccines and said Nigeria must educate people on their importance.
“We fear what we don’t understand,” he said.
Shuaib told The Guardian that the country has enough storage space for the initial quantities of vaccines expected January ending and is in process of procuring additional ultra cold chain equipment for wide-scale deployment of mRNA vaccines.
“There is sufficient storage capacity for COVID-19 vaccines requiring storage at the normal refrigeration temperature at + 2 to +8,” he said.
He said the government has enough vaccine freezers and refrigerators to store both at the ultra-cold chain temperatures and the normal + 2 to + 8.
“The vaccines will be transported to the lower level using boxes with dry ice,” Shuaib said.
Nigeria recorded 1,204 new cases on Monday, its highest ever, as total confirmed cases edged closer to 100,000.