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Nigeria releases $26M for domestic COVID-19 vaccine production

Federal Government of Nigeria has released 10 billion Naira (approximately $26m) towards the domestic production of COVID-19 vaccine.

“The Ministry of Finance has released N10 billion to support domestic vaccine production. While we are working to develop our own vaccines, Nigeria is exploring options for licensed production, in collaboration with recognised institutions.

We are also exploring the option of local production of the vaccines in the country,” Health Minister Osagie Ehanire, said.

Nigerian authorities are yet to disclose details of the development of the coronavirus vaccine or licenced productions.

Mr Ehanire refuted claims of people having COVID-19 vaccine for sale in the country. “I advise against fake vaccines, as there is no one approved for use in the country. The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) is the only authorised vaccine administrator in Nigeria,” he said.

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Mr Ehanire expressed concern at the rising number of cases in the country, with 10,300 confirmed cases from the 50,750 samples tested from that week.

“It means one out of every five persons tested in the last one week turned out positive, compared with the previous week which recorded a positivity rate of 14 percent,” the minister said.

Mr Ehanire said the government was making efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 through testing with early detection, isolation and treatment. “This includes much more adherence to wearing masks, social distancing, use of sanitiser, etc. than we are seeing today. Of special concern are the so-called “super spreader activities” that involve congregational settings, which must be reduced, restricted or prohibited in the interest of the common good,” he said.

Nigeria continues to experience a high rate of infection cases and death, mostly blamed on lack of compliance with the safety protocols to curb the spread.