According to reports reaching Oyogist.com, the Nigerian Government has showed readiness in acquiring the COVID-19 vaccines through the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) COVAX facility by making substantial down payments for it, Minister of Health Dr. Osagie Ehanire said on Thursday.
Minister of health, Ehanire further explained that Nigeria and other lower and middle income countries may wait more in line to receive the vaccines, due to the bulk purchases already made by other countries.
Dr. Ehanire spoke on a television interview from Abuja.
He said: “There is a frantic scramble going on (if I can use that word) and not all countries are getting the vaccines as at when they want. I think it was yesterday when the U.S. President announced that they are ordering another 200 million to make another 600 million. Now that has to be taken again out of the vaccine production. And if you have the vaccine production plant, then you have an advantage over those who have to wait for it to be delivered. So the timelines are not in the hands of the recipients in this case unfortunately.
“First of all, COVAX is giving vaccines for the first 20 per cent of the population free of charge. But when the vaccines are going to be delivered countries will pay the logistics of delivery and administration. As far as the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) facility is concerned, the acquisition is for the whole of Africa, and there is a continental approach. The Afrexim Bank is paying for the vaccines and countries will now refund the Afrexim Bank.
“Nigeria is mobilising resources and has some funds ready. Although vaccines have not been delivered but we are ready to make a down payment. There is a down payment required, about 15 percent, and then repayment over 5 years or 7 years. This is in consideration of African countries who are not so well-endowed, but also needs to be protected because there is a ‘no country left behind’ policy.
“Again if you succeed in vaccinating all your citizens and your neighbours have not done the same, then you too are not safe. So it is in the interest of all countries who are looking for vaccines to ensure that their neighbours also get the vaccines.“There is no rush to pay but Nigeria will make a substantial deposit when it is time for calling in the cash.” he said.