The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said on Monday the Federal Government has released N10 billion to support local production of COVID-19 vaccines in the country.
Ehanire disclosed this at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) COVID-19 briefing in Abuja.
He said: “The Ministry of Finance has released N10 billion to support domestic vaccine production.
“While we are working to develop our own vaccines, Nigeria is exploring options for licensed production, in collaboration with recognised institutions. We are also exploring the option of local production of the vaccines in the country.”
The minister urged Nigerians to ignore claims by some people that they had COVID-19 vaccines for sale in the country.
Ehanire added: “I advise all citizens to disregard these claims, as they are criminal. There are procedures for vaccine acquisition and use, which include appropriate regulations and certification by the National Agency for Food and Drug and Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
“I advise against fake vaccines, as there is no one approved for use in the country. The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) is the only authorised vaccine administrator in Nigeria.”
He stated that the number of new COVID-19 cases had continued to rise in the country such that 10,300 confirmed cases were reported from just 50,750 samples tested in one week.
“It means one out of every five persons tested in the last one week turned out positive, compared with the previous week which recorded a positivity rate of 14 percent.
“Nigeria’s total number of confirmed cases is 110,387 out of a total of 1,172,234 samples tested, with a cumulative positivity rate of 9.4 percent. 1,444 cases were recorded in the past 24 hours, with sadly 77 deaths in the past week and a total fatality of 1,435.
“It is instructive of the second wave that all cases recorded so far this January is more than 20 percent of all confirmed cases in Nigeria, more than the whole of December, barely halfway through the month.
“There is no doubting the fact that we are deeply into the second wave of the pandemic which requires that PTF and the Federal Ministry of Health review our strategies to respond to the challenge.
“The Federal Ministry of Health has outlined three approaches to confront the pandemic. These are infection mitigation, therapeutics, and vaccines,” he concluded.