By Chioma Iruke
The Nigerian government on Wednesday debunked rumours insinuating that they were awaiting donations to procure more Covid-19 vaccines.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed made the clarification during an interview with the newsmen on Wednesday.
According to him, Nigeria is expecting a large number of batches of doses of COVID-19 vaccine brands in few weeks, which are being paid for.
The minister said some of the vaccines were procured through the African Union (AU) which had signed a COVID-19 vaccine procurement agreement for 400 million doses for member-states funded with loans from AFREXIMBANK.
He said: “It is not correct that we are going cap in hand relying on donations, vaccines are not like bread that you can go to a shop and buy.
“There is what is called vaccine rationalisation. Even those countries that have the vaccines are not ready to sell.
“That is why we have to go through the AU to negotiate globally for the 400 million for the whole of Africa.
“We are not just expecting a large number of doses of the vaccines which the government is paying for, but working toward the development of our home-grown vaccines”.
The minister recalled that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in June approved N83.56 billion to purchase 30 million doses of the vaccines.
He said there was a lot of cooperation between the Federal Government and various research institutes for the development of locally made vaccines.
“Don’t forget that Nigeria is the first country in Africa that did the sequencing of this virus a long time ago.
“We will be very proud to have our own homemade vaccines and that is why we are giving support to all our various research institutes to have a breakthrough on this.
“We have been told that this may not be the last virus or epidemic we are going to have, therefore, working toward vaccines must be a continuous one.
“The Federal Government is doing everything possible to support and encourage our scientists.
“Hopefully, in few years, we will be able to develop our homemade vaccines which will be administered globally,” the minister added.