With the second wave of COVID-19 r a v a g i n g Nigeria and the Federal Government’s seeming inability to quickly procure vaccines for Nigerians, some state governors are exploring the option of buying vaccines directly from manufacturers for their people. Such governors are already considering the idea of opening discussions with manufacturers with a view to purchasing the vaccines. However, other governors say they do not have such plans, and would rather wait for the Federal Government to procure and distribute vaccines to them.
Oyo: FG’s 1,800 vaccines inadequate
For Oyo State, Governor Seyi Makinde, has said an alternative arrangement was being explored to get the people of the state vaccinated. The governor, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa, told Saturday Telegraph that “the 1,800 vaccines allocated to Oyo State by the Federal Government were inadequate”, adding that the state will engage manufacturers of Astra- Zeneca vaccines when finally certified fit to be administered. “On the issue of vaccines, the Federal Government, from what we read, has allocated 1,800 vaccines for Oyo State. “First, in Oyo State, we don’t have a facility to store at -70 centigrade. Again, this number is grossly inadequate. “If you want to vaccinate 100,000 people out of a population of almost 200 million, it is not going to make any effect. “And Oyo State, which is a population of between 7 and 12 million, 1,800 vaccines are not going to go anywhere. “So, we are exploring other means of getting these vaccines to our people. I have been advised by the experts that the Astra- Zeneca Vaccine is more suitable for Oyo State due to storage instructions. “We are opening discussions directly with the manufacturer so that we can get as many as possible for our people once it is certified,”,he said.
Lagos: We’re in talks with vaccines manufacturers
As states begin preparations to get vaccines by themselves to manage the growing cases of COVID- 19, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has said the state has opened discussions with vaccine manufacturers to ensure that the state is catered for when the vaccine eventually comes. He said: “We are closely monitoring ongoing action by the Federal Government to procure COVID-19 vaccines for use in Nigeria. “We have also opened discussions with vaccine manufacturers so that when the vaccine comes eventually, we can ensure that Lagosians are catered for. “In the meantime, we are developing a strategy that will articulate the criteria, guidelines and regulatory framework for providing and monitoring vaccinations in Lagos.”
Abia: We’ll get vaccines if FG fails
The Abia State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jonathan Osuji, said if states are asked to provide vaccines for their citizens, it will not be a problem to Abia. He said: “You know the budgetary provision in the Ministry of Health for emergency intervention. “The ministry has budgetary intervention for that, and if need arises, it will pull out that aspect of the budget. “All the states rely on the Federal Government for these COVID-19 vaccines. Till this moment, we’ve not got any vaccine in the country. “All the states have prepared themselves. They’ve prepared themselves because the vaccine is stored under a certain temperature and you can’t allow that vaccine to fall below temperature. “If the Federal Government, which has promised to get vaccines fails to get and there’s absolutely a need for the states to get their own vaccines, all they need to do is to invoke the appropriation bill to get the money out. “I don’t think that’ll be a problem for us. We’re just waiting for people that’ll say go ahead and procure your own vaccines and definitely the Abia State Government will do that.”
Ekiti: Vaccine procurement under consideration
For Ekiti, the state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr. Oyebanji Filani, said the government is still working on vaccine procurement. “Vaccines procurement is under consideration. Although primarily, we are working with FG to ensure vaccines are sourced for at the federal level,” he added.
Zamfara: We’ll purchase our vaccines
Following uncertainty surrounding Federal Government to providing state governments with vaccines for COVID-19, Zamfara State government has expressed its readiness to purchase by itself. The state’s Commissioner for Information, Sulaiman Tinau Anka, said Zamfara State government, though yet to discuss the issue at the State Executive Council Meeting, was determined to use all available resources to fight COVID-19 pan-demic in the state.
Osun: Govt relying on FG for vaccine
Osun State government has said it is not planning to procure its own vaccine to fight the dreaded COVID- 19. The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Rafiu Isamotu, said the state is still depending on the Federal Government for the vaccine. Speaking with one of our correspondents in Osogbo, Isamotu expressed optimism that the Federal Government will distribute the vaccine to the states. “To the best of my knowledge, the National Primary Health Care is the agency saddled with the responsibility of the vaccines, and of course, I do know there is a plan for vaccines to be given to states. “For anybody to say the Federal Government is not planning to buy vaccines for states is not true,” Isamotu stated. On whether the number of vaccines allocated to each state will be enough to take care of the citizens, Isamotu said that will be addressed when it comes. He said he could not confirm the number allocated to Osun State but expressed optimism that the state will get the vaccine.
Imo: We are relying on FG
The Imo State Government has also said it has no alternative plans to procure the COVID-19 vaccine for its citizenry, other than waiting on the Federal Government. The state’s Commissioner for Health, Mrs. Damaris Osunkwo, made the disclosure to our correspondent in a telephone conversation. Osunkwo, who said she was in a meeting, did not comment on the implication of the vaccine fund not being captured in the budget, but hurriedly said: “Imo is not doing any other thing about the vaccine. The vaccine issue is a national one. So, we are relying on the Federal Government.”
C’River: We made plans but PTF’s ban stopped us
Just like Imo, the Cross River State government said it will not buy the COVID- 19 vaccine because the Federal Government has ordered state governments not to buy it. The Special Adviser to Governor Ben Ayade on Media and Publicity, Mr. Christian Ita, said although the state government had made plans to buy the vaccine, the ban by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 would be obeyed. “We had made plans to buy the vaccine because the Federal Government planned to give us just slightly above 1000 doses of the vaccine, which will be far from the more three million people of the state. But the ban by the PTF on states not to buy it has stopped us from going ahead,” Ita said.
A’Ibom: We are not in a hurry
Akwa Ibom said it is bidding its time and hopeful that the Federal Government will procure the vaccine and send it to states. The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Barr Ini Ememobong, who spoke with one of our correspondents, explained that there are various types of COVID-19 vaccines in circulation. He recalled the warning from NAFDAC to Nigerians to be wary of fake vaccines in circulation. According to him, “We haven’t come to the issue of acquiring the vaccine yet. In the USA, the Federal Government gets it and sends it to states. “We are still hopeful that the Federal Government will procure and send to states here. Please note that NAFDAC has warned against people falling for fake vaccines in circulation and there are various types. I will advise people to observe all safety protocols to avoid contracting the disease.”
Benue: We can’t jump into buying vaccines
The Benue State government has also said it cannot jump into procurement of COVID-19 vaccines for treatment of patients even as the Federal Government has not made concrete arrangements to get them in the budget. The Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr. Joseph Ngbea, said the government is poised to follow the guidelines provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) before thinking of getting the vaccines. He said the state has not even carried out what he called “an acceptable clinical trial to Nigerians and Africans, stressing that it would be wrong to go ahead and purchase the vaccines for now. He said: “We are not going to get the vaccines; we have to follow the guidelines of the NCDC on vaccines, and once they approve, we can procure them. “But for now, we have to follow due process. What is even called clinical trial, we have not done it. So, we cannot jump into buying vaccines. “There must be a clinical trial that is acceptable to Africans and Nigerians before we can procure it.”
Kwara: We’ve confidence in FG
In Kwara State, there seems to be no arrangement by the state government to procure the COVID- 19 vaccines outside what the Federal Government is doing. The Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Governor AbdulRahman Abdul- Razaq, Mr. Rafiu Ajakaye, said: “The state government has keyed into the Federal Government’s efforts to get vaccines for the people of the country. We have absolute confidence in that process.”
Borno: We’ll take decision in line with other states
The Borno State Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Babakura Jatau, said the Federal Government has procured 100,000 doses for distribution to states to be given to frontline health workers, the aged and the most vulnerable members of the society that are at the high risk of contracting the virus He said: “We were told that the Federal Government is bringing another 400,000 doses of vaccines for further distribution. “You know the vaccine is expensive; whatever it may be, when the need arises the state governments will take a collective decision on whether to procure the vaccines on their own or not,” he said.
Bayelsa: It’s FG that’s procuring vaccines
The Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the Bayelsa State governor, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, confirmed that the Federal Government is importing the vaccine. He said: “The state will provide a storage facility, which I think they are doing the inspection or they have already done. “And they have already allocated the number of vaccines that will be sent to the different states. The state government is not procuring any vaccine. “States don’t produce vaccines. What the Federal Government is doing is that it is also spending money on how to locally produce the vaccine. “I think the Federal Government has set aside N10 billion from N400 billion that is being used to import the vaccine. “Our own is to get where to store the vaccine. We want to determine the category of persons to be vaccinated.”
Niger: We’ll wait for FG
In a text message response to one of our correspondents, the state’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mohammed Sani Idris, who however, did not disclose the amount earmarked for the vaccines, said the state government will not buy any vaccines except the Federal Government’s authorised it to do so. He said: “We have a budget line for procurement of vaccines but we will not buy one unless authorized by the Federal Government, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).”
Plateau: We’ll wait for the outcome of FG’s effort
The Plateau State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Nimkong Ndam Lar, said the state will have to wait and see the outcome of 100,000 doses of the COVID- 19 by the Federal Government before taking any action for its citizens. He said: “The Plateau State government will wait and monitor the outcome of the 100,000 vaccines to be received by the Federal Government and its acceptability before taking action.” Lar said the Plateau Governor, Mr. Simon Lalong, who is also the Chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum, will take decisions at the Forum level on the vaccines issue.