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Nigeria Lacks Space To Store Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine —- NIMR

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The Nigerian Institute of Medical Research says there is not enough space at the moment to store the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccines which are expected to arrive next week.

The Director-General of NIMR, Prof. Babatunde Salako, said this during an interview with The PUNCH on Saturday.

Salako revealed that Nigeria had freezers in different parts of the country to store the Pfizer vaccines at -70 degrees centigrade.

He, however, said most of these freezers were occupied and were storing medical supplies which also need to be stored at a low temperature.

Responding to a question, Salako said, “Our facilities can hold Pfizer vaccines at -70 degrees but we don’t have enough of such freezers, and the ones we have are even full at the moment. We even just got one that we have yet to install but how many samples can it even hold?

“Even if we rearrange things, I doubt if we can store more than a few hundred or thousands.”

When asked if other facilities besides NIMR could hold such vaccines, he said, “There are many -80 freezers around in the research institutes and universities but the point is that many of them have samples inside them. So, even if we evacuate, I don’t think we will all be able to do more than a few thousands.”

Salako said storage was the minor problem, adding that the major challenge would be how to transport the vaccines at the temperature of -70 to rural areas.

The NIMR boss argued that in the future, Nigeria may need to buy other brands that do not require such low temperatures like Pfizer.

Salako noted that other brands like Oxford/AstraZeneca could be stored at normal freezer temperature while the Russian vaccine could also be stored at a temperature not as low as Pfizer.

He said, “The problem is not just about storing vaccines but moving it to the rural areas and maintaining that same temperature. For example, if you land in Lagos and you store it at -70 and it has to be transported over the creek somewhere, how do you move them? There are other ways but they will be very costly. They can store them with liquid nitrogen or even dry ice but it will cost a lot of money.

“AstraZeneca would have been better because it would stay at normal freeze temperature and I think even Russian vaccines can be stored at the same temperature but I think the government is going with Pfizer because the World Health Organisation has given it an emergency approval.

“But I think all the vaccines are now being deployed in many countries. So, we can do all of them rather than do just one considering the storage capacity for Pfizer. Even the government knows that we don’t have enough space but we can be taken in batches.”

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No More Congratulatory Messages For Bawa, EFCC Warns

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has observed the increasing number of messages published in the print media by groups and individuals, congratulating Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa on his well-deserved appointment as the Executive Chairman of the Commission.

While the open exhibition of affection and solidarity may be salutary in our cultural milieu and indeed appreciated, it is however inauspicious at this point in time and gradually turning into a distraction.

Mr. Bawa is assuming the leadership of the EFCC at a time of great challenge and he desires to hit the ground running. What he needs from well-wishers and indeed all Nigerians is support and prayers, and more importantly, credible information that will further the work of the Commission.

He, therefore, appeals to all his admirers and well-wishers who might have the intention of demonstrating their love and support for him through paid newspaper advertisement to desist, and instead channel such resources to more worthy causes, such as making donations to Orphanages and Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camps.

No More Congratulatory Messages for Bawa, EFCC Warns

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has observed…

Posted by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday, March 2, 2021

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NPHCDA: No Microchips In COVID-19 Vaccine, No Changes In DNA

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Faisal Shuaib, chief executive officer of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), says the belief that the COVID-19 vaccine contains microchips and changes the DNA, is false.

Nigeria received its first batch of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine containing 3.9 million doses on Tuesday.

In an interview with Channels Television on Wednesday, Shuaib said it was the responsibility of health workers and scientists to address any concern that Nigerians may have regarding the vaccine.

“We as health workers; we as scientists have been working in the last few years to make sure that we don’t take for granted any questions or concerns that Nigerians will have. It is our responsibility not to just offer the vaccine but we also have to put in the hard work to convince Nigerians, to provide them with the information around their questions. So is there a chip for example? No there is no chip in the vaccine. Is it possible that this will change your DNA? No, that doesn’t happen,” he said.

His comment comes amid misconceptions by some Nigerians concerning the vaccine — such as ”it changes the DNA; it contains chips, and it is the mark of the Antichrist”.

While addressing concerns that only the rich will get access to the vaccine, Shuaib said the distribution will only be done according to priority — with frontline health workers as first priority followed by vulnerable groups.

”We have not already allotted these vaccines to the rich people or the people in the urban areas. Absolutely not. The president has been very clear , and the vice-president has also added his voice. The Chairman of the presidential task force (PTF) has communicated this, and in our PTF media briefing, we’ve made it very clear in terms of who we’re going to prioritize. The first group of people who are going to be taking this vaccine are the frontline health workers,” he said.

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COVID Vaccines Not Allotted To Rich People —– FG

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The Federal Government, on Wednesday, said contrary to widespread insinuations, the AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid vaccines presently in the country have not been apportioned to “rich people”.

Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, made this known while featuring on Channels Television’sSunrise Daily’ programme.

Nigeria on Tuesday received nearly four million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, shipped via the COVAX Facility, a partnership between CEPI, Gavi, UNICEF, and WHO.

The 3.94 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine arrived in Abuja at noon on Tuesday.

Speaking on the delivery of the vaccines on Wednesday, the agency boss said, “We are protecting the vaccines very closely, we’ve increased security around the vaccines to make sure that unauthorized access is not possible.

“So, we are waiting on NAFDAC. We feel that they are going to do all of the checks that are necessary and once they give us the green light, we will be ready to roll out the vaccines.”

Asked whether the vaccines have been shared among influential people, Shuaib said, “I will tell you categorically that we have not allotted these vaccines to the rich people or to the people in the urban areas, absolutely not. Mr. President has been very clear.

“Mr Vice President has also added his voice and the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force has communicated this at the Presidential Task Force media briefings. He has made it very clear in terms of who we are going to prioritize and I will repeat it here again that the first set of people who are going to be taking these vaccines are those people who have sacrificed in the last one year taking care of all Nigerians that have come down with Covid-19. So, the frontline health workers.

“On Friday, we are going to be launching the vaccines, we are going to be rolling them out at the treatment centers at the national hospital. Our priority will be the health workers that are frontline. We are going to be giving these vaccines to first responders.

“We are also going to be looking at people outside of the health sector who are at risk of getting Covid-19. We are going to be looking at those strategic leaders like Mr President and the Vice-President, those people who will also want to take the vaccines publicly so that they can motivate the followers to take the vaccines, to convince them that the vaccines are very safe.”

He enjoined Nigerians who wish to receive the vaccines to register on the website of the NPHCDA, adding that over 2.3 million Nigerians have registered in the past few hours.

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