Nigeria wants to vaccinate as much as 40% of its population against the coronavirus in 2021, a government official said, in a plan that was described as unfeasible by a state governor and analysts.
As a first step, the country of more than 200 million people expects to receive 100,000 doses of Pfizer Inc.’s vaccine at the end of January through the Covax initiative, Faisal Shuaib, chief executive officer of Nigeria’s National Primary Health Care Development Agency, said Thursday on Bloomberg TV. Covax has not started shipping vaccines yet and has not given a precise date for when it will begin.
The country has secured the services of the private sector for ultra-cold storage facilities to help store and distribute the vaccines, Shuaib said. Ideally, Nigeria should have at least 70% of the population vaccinated by the end of 2022, he said.
Cheta Nwanze, lead partner with Lagos-based risk consultancy SBM Intelligence, dismissed the plan as improbable.
“There are quite a number of factors that work against Dr Shuaib’s hopes,” he said by email. “We don’t have a) the money, and b) the infrastructure to distribute this amount of vaccines.”
Authorities have yet to provide details about deals with vaccine producers to secure enough doses. The governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, plans to approach manufacturers directly because the number of Pfizer vaccines allocated to his state by the federal government would amount to about 1,800, which he described as “grossly inadequate,” according to Punch newspaper.
Africa’s most populous country has reported 103,999 cases, with 1,382 deaths, but testing is not easily accessible for most people. Only about 1.1 million tests have been performed so far.
— With assistance by William Clowes