As Nigeria appears to be on the verge of a second wave of COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, the federal government has announced it is in the process of getting 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in early 2021.
Executive Secretary, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib, told journalists in Abuja on Thursday that COVAX, a coalition of 92 countries under the WHO, is working to get the vaccine.
His words: “We are on course to access safe vaccine in the first quarter of 2021. We will be leveraging on the polio platform to ensure effective delivery of vaccines to our vulnerable population,” he said.
“We have established a supra-ministerial advisory committee to ensure a seamless administration. A technical group meets every week and has devised a risk communication plan to deliver safe vaccines to Nigerians.
Speaking at the same PTF daily media briefing, the Minister Of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said that rising infections suggests the country may just be on the verge of a second wave of this pandemic, a situation he blamed on community transmission and influx of infected person into the country.
Said Ehanire, “…to a less extent, from travelers entering Nigeria, among whom we have recorded 87 positive cases arriving to the country, as against 59 in the previous week.
“This number can increase as the volume of travelers rises, especially as people return home for the Christmas and New Year holidays.
“To ensure that we further contain imported cases, Port health officers at points of entry have been directed to be vigilant and diligent in screening travelers arriving Nigeria, especially from high burden countries….
“In the past 24 hours, 474 new confirmed cases and two deaths were recorded, with an indication that this week’s figure will beat last week’s.
“As at today, we have crossed the 70,000 mark with a total of 70,669 confirmed cases out of which 65,242 have been treated and discharged. Sadly, the number of deaths has now reached 1,184 as against 1,167 two weeks before….
“While we strive for the best, we must prepare for a possible second wave which we must ensure does not get to be worse than what we have seen so far,.
“Judging from what we observe in other countries, the U.S., UK and other countries are going through very difficult times, and we do sympathise with them.
“To prepare ourselves, I have directed that all Isolation and Treatment centres, which were hitherto closed due to reduced patient load, be prepared for reopening and the staff complement put on alert,” he added.