Ahead of the arrival of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines into the country within the next few weeks, Nigerian State Governors have begun plans to acquire freezers and cold chains for effective storage of the vaccines in their states.
The Federal Government had said the first batch of the vaccines would arrive in the country between the end of January and February 2021, adding that the vaccines to be used in the country would be safe and effective.
It also said the 100,000 doses of the vaccine being expected in the first batch were for 50,000 Nigerians as the vaccines would be taken twice by each person at 21 days interval.
Speaking at the webinar on Friday, The Director, Logistics and Health Commodities, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Hajia Kubura Daradara, said, “We are not releasing the vaccines to any state until we are sure that they are ready to implement (administer the vaccines). For the transportation of the vaccines, we will use dry ice in insulated thermal containers that are going to be sealed.
“So, when a state is ready for implementation, we take the vaccines to them a day to the time they are going to start the implementation. At the state level, the vaccines can stay for +2 to +8, which is at the normal refrigeration level for five days. So, each state would do their implementation for five days, that is when the vaccines will still be potent after we have given them.
“Once the vaccines are in the states, they can remove the vaccines and put them in their normal refrigerators where it would stay for five days.”
As a result, the governors said they had begun plans to acquire freezers and cold chains for effective storage of the vaccines in their states.
The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, disclosed this to State House correspondents on Friday after meeting with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Fayemi said since there was no clarity on when the vaccines would arrive in Nigeria, he also discussed with the President on the need to accelerate the delivery.
He said, “Those of us at the receiving end in the states know that this is an issue we also need to ramp up our own preparedness, in terms of getting our states ready for vaccines storage, particularly the freezers and cold chains that will be required for that process.
“We need to get ourselves ready at the state level. The Federal Government can procure but we will receive and administer in our various states and there is a lot of work to be done in that respect.”
He also called on the Federal Government to expedite actions towards ensuring local production of COVID-19 vaccine instead of completely relying on the ones to be brought into the country.