Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said during a virtual meeting with senior government officials and representatives of Big Pharma that the Buhari administration intends to examine every possible option in the development and distribution of a vaccine against the COVID-19 coronavirus, and that the health and safety of Nigerian citizens remains the government’s priority.
Mr Osinbajo said this during a meeting with representatives of the BNT162 COVID-19 vaccine candidate on the progress of the development of the vaccine. The meeting had in attendance Health Minister, Osagie Ehanire, the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib and representatives of Pfizer and Biotech, the international pharmaceutical firms promoting the BNT162 vaccine candidate.
Mr Osinbajo said the interaction between the Nigerian government and the promoters of the vaccine candidate “is an important conversation and it is important for us that we are prioritized-as the largest country in Africa-in the distribution of the best COVID-19 vaccine when it is 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.”
The Vice President asked several questions about the COVID-19 vaccine candidate during the meeting, including how quickly can Nigeria get the vaccine once it becomes available.
Mr Olayinka Subair, Pfizer’s Country Manager and Representative in Africa, who spoke on behalf of the promoters, said that “Nigeria will be a priority.” Although the vaccine is not currently being tested in Nigeria, he said the trails are ongoing in parts of the African continent and would be entering the third phase after two successful phases.