THE President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government has disclosed that the country would be needing a whooping sum of N400 billion naira for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines for Nigerians.
Osagie Ehanire, minister of health, stated this before the leadership of the national assembly on Tuesday.
While stating the government is prepared to save lives with the vaccine, the minister said that the proposed amount vaccinate 70 percent of Nigeria’s over 200 million population, at $8 per person.
The minister added that N156 billion will be needed in 2021 while N200 billion will be used for vaccination in 2022.
On the issue of storage, the minister explained that the COVID-19 vaccines will be stored in the same storage facilities (cold chains) used to store the polio vaccines.
Ahmad Lawan, the president of the senate promised the full support of the national assembly to fund the vaccine.
He, however, expressed concern about the storage of the vaccine when it is acquired, adding that more needs to be done by the ministry of health.
“I have not been convinced with your presentation that we are ready to bring in the vaccines,” he said.
“You have to do much more to convince me that we are ready.”
Nigeria is currently experiencing a worrisome surge in numbers of recorded cases across the country following a decline in October and November.
According to data by the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), the country recorded 5,176 new cases in last week which is the highest since COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
As at Wednesday morning, the number of recorded cases from Sunday morning has risen to 1856 making the country’s overall cases to 79789 with 1231 deaths and 68879 recoveries since its outbreak in the country.
The new variant of COVID-19 announced in the United Kingdom in September has been reportedly discovered in Nigeria by scientists at the Africa Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID), at the Redeemers University in Ede, Osun state, on Monday.
The federal government through the presidential taskforce on COVID-19, had issued new guidelines for religious and business centres, on Monday.
Also, President Buhari on Tuesday advised Nigerians to avoid non-essential trips and large social gatherings as they celebrate the festive season.
He said if necessary, large gatherings should be completely avoided.