Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, at a sensitisation meeting on Covid-19 vaccines organised for Christian leaders by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), in conjunction with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Abuja, said the vaccines would not start arriving until March or even April.
The federal government had earlier announced that it would receive the first batch of 100,000 vaccines the end of January.
It later shifted the arrival date to February due to what it described as manufacturing issues by the producing company.
NPHCDA Executive Director, Dr. Shuaib Faisal, had said on Sunday that the delay in the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines was because countries were negotiating price reduction, safety and effectiveness as well as the required logistics to stop ongoing community transmission of the virus.
“While the country appreciates the global effort through the COVAX facility to ensure low and medium-income countries like Nigeria have fair and equitable access to the COVID–19 vaccines, the delay in accessing vaccines means that eligible countries would have to explore all channels that can ensure fair prices, safe and effective vaccines for its populace,” he stated.
The latest shift in the arrival date comes as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, stated that the federal government will ensure that at least 40% of the country’s population is vaccinated before the end of the year.
Ehanire, at the sensitisation programme, said: “In order to ensure full benefits of vaccines, at least 76% of the population must be immunised.
“We have been working on strategies to procure these vaccines and I can say that from our activities so far, we have secured for the books up to 46% of the vaccines for eligible persons, although they will not start arriving until March or even April.”
Speaking on the challenges facing the introduction of the vaccines in the country, Ehanire said there is a groundswell of resistance, hesitancy or even hostilities, which the federal government is battling to deal with.