Nigerians Won't Pay for Covid-19 Vaccine - Govt

Nine African countries agree to begin journey towards pooled procurement to increase their access to affordable life-saving vaccines.
24 December 2020

The federal government said yesterday that the COVID-19 vaccine will be administered on Nigerians free of charge when vaccination begins.

National coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu, who disclosed this on Channels TV's breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, monitored in Abuja yesterday, said through the GAVI arrangement, there was the assurance that over 40 million Nigerians will be vaccinated.

LEADERSHIP reports that GAVI is a vaccine alliance involved in a bid to find solution to the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic through vaccines birthed COVAX.

COVAX is one of the three pillars of Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) accelerator. It was launched in April by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the European Commission and France, bringing together governments, manufacturers, scientists, the private sector, philanthropists and the civil society organisations in response to the pandemic and ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccine and treatments when available.

Aliyu said, "Yesterday, the president gave the PTF the mandate to proceed with preparations with regard to the vaccine. "The president has also given us a marching order that the COVID-19 vaccine be available in Nigeria.

"Making use of the GAVI arrangement, we already have assurance that 20 per cent of our population will be accommodated by GAVI in the vaccine. "We don't need to pay for that and this will cover 40 million Nigerians or so. But we have to pay for the operations and the logistics associated with it". He also said that there were plans to buy additional vaccines aside the GAVI arrangement.

He continued: "We are also planning to pay for an additional 20 to 40 per cent. In general, over the next two years, at least 70 percent of the population needs to be vaccinated before we can have enough herd immunity.

"The Pfizer vaccine is one of the most effective vaccines at the moment". When asked if the vaccine would be administered free, Aliyu answered in the affirmative: "Of course, of course." The PTF national coordinator advised Nigerians not to discard safety measures already in place just because of the vaccine. "Just to make it clear to the general public, even if we have the vaccine available tomorrow in Nigeria, the epidemic will not change.

"We still need to apply the protective measures we have been advising right from beginning. Vaccines alone will not change it. If you look at the time it takes the vaccine to take effect, the first dose will take about 12 days to have an anti-body response.

The second dose takes a week. In all, it takes a month for one to have adequate immunity," Aliyu explained.

FCT Shuts Bars, Night Clubs, Recreational Centres

Meanwhile, worried by the increasing COVID-19 infections in the nation's capital, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has directed all bars, night clubs, events and recreational centres in FCT to re main closed for the next five weeks.

FCT minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, who gave the directive after an emergency COVID-19 meeting in Abuja yesterday, added that all restaurants, except those providing services to hotel residents, takeaways, home deliveries and drive-ins are to remain closed as well.

Bello stated that all informal and formal activities, including weddings, conferences, congresses, office parties, concerts, seminars, sporting events, end-of-year events in the FCT are restricted to not more than 50 persons, while facilities for religious events are restricted to less than 50 per cent of capacity of use during which physical distancing, mandatory use of face masks and hand sanitation are to be strictly enforced. He also directed all employees of the FCTA and the six area councils of the FCT on grade level 12 and below are to work from home for the next five weeks, while heads of the various secretariats, departments and agencies are to be responsible for compliance even as all schools are to remain on vacation until January 18, 2021.

The minister also directed the Abuja Market Management Limited (AMML) and the various market associations in FCT to work together to ensure compliance of all the guidelines on facial coverings, hand hygiene and physical distancing, even as he warned that the administration would not hesitate to close down any market or business premises found in contravention of these guidelines.

A statement signed by the chief press secretary (CPS) to the minister, Anthony Ogunleye, attributed the increasing cases of COVID-19 in the FCT to the lack of compliance with non-pharmaceutical interventions by residents, especially facial coverings in public, physical distancing and hand hygiene.

Ogunleye added that the enforcement teams have been mandated to carry out the arrest of violators and prosecute them through the mobile courts system, even as he enjoined residents to comply fully with all health and safety protocols to help curtail the spread of the virus in the FCT.

This is also as the FCTA has announced the upgrading of facilities at the Idu COVID-19 Isolation and Treatment Centre to accommodate patients who might require further treatment, such as use of oxygen. The FCT minister, who disclosed this when he visited the centre yesterday, expressed satisfaction with the efforts of the Health and Human Services Secretariat (HHSS) in the management of the centre.

Ondo Cancels Church Service, Postpones Resumption of Schools

Following the ravaging effects of the second wave of the dreaded coronavirus pandemic, the Ondo State government has announced the cancelation of the annual crossover service to usher in the New Year across the state, in order to curb the spread of the virus.

The government also postponed the resumption of pupils and students of primary and secondary schools in the state to Monday, January 18, 2020. Chairman, Ondo State Interministerial Committee on Coronavirus and Vice-Chancellor, University of Medical Sciences, Ondo, Prof. Adesegun Fatusi, disclosed this at a press briefing organised by the committee in Akure yesterday. According to him, the committee has had extensive interactions with various stakeholders, physically and virtually, on the need to take pandemic.

He implored people to pay due attention and observance to the precautionary measures put in place to safeguard them against the disease. Prof. Fatusi said no church service organised in respect of the New Year celebration must exceed 10pm until further notice, in line with federal government's directive on curfew.

The chairman said the state government will begin to carry out strict monitoring of all the guidelines, while interacting with religious leaders, market associations, media, unions, and other critical stakeholders in the fight against the pandemic. proactive measures against the second wave of COVID-19, adding that the state was working assiduously to ensure it records no substantial case during the second wave of the pandemic.

He implored people to pay due attention and observance to the precautionary measures put in place to safeguard them against the disease. Prof. Fatusi said no church service organised in respect of the New Year celebration must exceed 10pm until further notice, in line with federal government's directive on curfew. The chairman said the state government will begin to carry out strict monitoring of all the guidelines, while interacting with religious leaders, market associations, media, unions, and other critical stakeholders in the fight against the pandemic.

Ogun Suspends Carnivals, Cross-Over Night Ogun State governor

Prince Dapo Abiodun, has announced the suspension of street carnivals, crowded cross-over night service, parties and similar gatherings in the state, amidst an increase in COVID-19 infections across the country.

The governor yesterday also directed all civil servants and other government workers in the state to proceed on Christmas and New Year holiday from Thursday, December 24.

According to the chief press secretary to the governor, Mr Kunle Somorin, the directives were issued yesterday after a meeting between the state government and religious leaders from the League of Imams and the Christian Association of Nigeria as well as community leaders as part of the measures and guidelines for public health as the state prepares for a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

The governor directed that all Schools in the State are to remain closed until January 18, 2021, while all bars, nightclubs, pubs and event centres, recreational centres in the state have also been closed down indefinitely.

Abiodun further directed that the all markets are to open strictly between 8am and 4pm while maintaining social distancing and observing all COVID-19 protocols, including the use of face mask, provision of hand sanitiser and/or hand-washing equipment at every strategic point within their malls, shops, business premises etc. He directed that religious and worship centres should not exceed 50 per cent of their capacity. All services must also be in compliance with all COVID-19 protocols.

He said, "All worship activities must be observed by not more than 50 per cent of capacity. All congregants must wear their face masks appropriately (that is, No facemask, No entry). "There should be reliable sources of running water. Worship centres should be adequately cleaned and disinfected before and after services.

Household bleach solution should be adequately prepared for disinfectations. "There should be adequate provision and supervision of multiple Veronica Buckets for handwashing (fully automated hand washing machines are preferable).

Plateau Bans Cultural Festivals

In Plateau, the state government has imposed strict measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, directing that all public gatherings, including places of worship, should cut down attendance to 50 per cent of their capacity while all cultural festivals are banned in the State. Similarly, the state government further directed that all recreational centres are to be closed until further notice.

According to a statement issued by the director of press and public affairs in the governor's office, Simon Makut Macham, the decision was taken after an enlarged stakeholders' meeting presided over by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof Danladi Abok Atu. He said the use of facemasks should be enforced in all public places while social distancing, hand washing and other protocols are to be adhered to.

The statement noted: "Motorcycles and tricycles are banned from operating on Friday 25th, Saturday 26th December 2020 and Friday1st January 2021 across the 17 local governments. "All boundary routes into the State and within the Local Government areas should be monitored and check-points mounted to monitor movements while communities are encouraged to work together and compare notes on happenings around them," he added.

Kwara Declares Partial Lockdown

The Kwara State government has imposed a partial lockdown in the state from 12 midnight to 4am with effect from today until further notice. The directive was contained in the new guidelines on the second wave of COVID-19 issued yesterday by the State Technical Committee on COVID-19. Addressing a press conference in Ilorin, the state capital, the commissioner for Health, Dr. Raji Rasaq, who doubles as the vice-chairman of the Technical Committee on COVID-19 said, "There shall be partial statewide lockdown between 12 am and 430am until further notice." "These new guidelines take effect from Thursday, December 24, 2020". Other measures announced by the committee include "appropriate use of face mask in public places is mandatory. Concerts/carnivals/Clubbing are not allowed until further notice"

Edo Imposes 12am - 4am Curfew

The Edo State government has announced the imposition of a 12am to 4am curfew in a bid to reduce the spread of COVID-19. In a statewide broadcast, the state governor, Godwin Obaseki, said even though the state had created the capacity to respond to the new outbreak of COVID-19, it was pertinent to put strategy to cope with the second wave of he disease.

He stated: "The reason why I decided to address you today is to bring to your attention that a second wave of covid-19, which has been ravaging the world, has now hit us in Edo State. "As at this morning, we have recorded 32 active cases with 4 new cases in the last 24 hours. "Experts have warned that from experience, the second wave in any epidemic is usually larger than the first. This is why as a government we are very concerned. "Arising from the experience, which we gained during the last outbreak of COVID-19, we now have in place a robust disease surveillance system in the state with well-trained

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