By Babajide Okeowo
The World Health Organization (WHO) has endorsed the vaccine made by Pfizer for immunisation against the virus in Nigeria.
The WHO Country Representative in Nigeria, Dr. Walter Kaza Mulombo, made this known during the Presidential Task Force on COVID- 19 press briefing in Abuja.
He disclosed that the Pfizer vaccine, which requires keeping in extremely cold temperatures of minus 70 degrees Celsius, which is colder than winter in Antarctica, is the first to be approved for Nigeria by the world health body and will be available for emergency use.
The WHO announcement came against the backdrop of the federal government’s statement that the first batch of vaccines for immunising 20 per cent of the population against the virus will be delivered by the end of the month.
“On the question of WHO endorsing or authorising two vaccines, what I can say this evening is that WHO has endorsed for emergency use one vaccine, which is Pfizer vaccine, which is expected first to arrive in Nigeria in a couple of weeks. Other candidate vaccines will come on the list and in a few days after the strategic inventory by the group of experts in WHO reviews all the evidence. So the process is for WHO to review rigorously all the evidence published and made available by the vaccine manufacturers. After reviewing that evidence, there is a set of criteria, then we can decide or not put it on the emergency list. But for now, it just one of them, but others may come on the same list” Mulombo disclosed.
When the vaccines arrive, Nigeria will first inoculate frontline health workers, first responders, national leaders, people vulnerable to COVID-19, and the elderly, it was disclosed at the PTF press conference in Abuja.
Recall that Nigeria has declared its hope to get 42 million COVID-19 vaccines to cover one-fifth of its population through the global COVAX scheme.