Pharmaceutical giants Pfizer has promised to make Nigeria a priority for the availability of the BNT162 COVID-19 vaccine candidate when it eventually becomes available.
The company made the pledge on Wednesday during a virtual meeting with the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, alongside its partners, Biotech on the progress made so far on the development of vaccine around the world, including Africa.
Osinbajo at the meeting also disclosed that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari took as priority the health and safety of all Nigerians.
A statement by Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande qouted him as saying that the federal government also intended to examine every possible option in the development and distribution of a vaccine against COVID-19.
The meeting, according to the statement, was attended by the Health Minister, Dr. Osagie Ehanire and the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, with representatives of Pfizer and Biotech, the international pharmaceutical firms promoting the BNT162 vaccine candidate.
According to Osinbajo, the interaction between the FG 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’s 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, according to the statement, asked several questions about the the COVID-19 vaccine candidate including how quickly Nigeria can get the vaccine once it’s safely ready.
In his response, the Pfizer Country Manager and Representative in Africa, who spoke for the promoters, Mr. Subair Olayinka, disclosed that “Nigeria will be priority,” for the vaccine supply to Africa.
Noting that the vaccine trials are not going on in Nigeria currently, Olayinka said the trails are ongoing in parts of the African continent and it would be entering the third phase, having concluded the first two phases successfully.
In his contribution at the meeting, the Minister of Health noted that the Federal Government would consider quality, appropriate volume and how well and quick a vaccine can be delivered to Nigeria in deciding which manufacturer to make the supply.
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