State governors in Nigeria are calling on the Federal government to increase the number of vaccines allocated to their states.
Seyi Makinde, Governor of Oyo state, told the media that the 1,848 doses of COVID-19 vaccine allocated to the state were insufficient, to say the least.
According to the sharing formula released by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Oyo, Kano, Lagos, Katsina, Kaduna and Bauchi will receive more doses for health workers as these states have higher Covid-19 rates. However, Makinde revealed that the set amount of vaccines allocated to his state would not sufficiently meet the needs of its population.
The governor added that the state government might be forced to independently engage manufacturers of Astra-Zeneca vaccine to supply Oyo the vaccine when their vaccine has been certified fit for human consumption as he believes the Astra-Zeneca vaccine would be more suitable for the state because of its storage instructions compared to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine the federal government is procuring.
“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 minus 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 dent,
“And Oyo State, which is a population of between 7-12million, 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. So, we are opening discussions directly with the manufacturer so that we can get as many as possible for our people once it is certified…what I will say to everyone is, you have to own your action. I have to own mine action too,” Makinde said.
Other state governors have also expressed their concern over the vaccine-sharing formula while also making moves to take over the distribution of the life-saving substance.
According to reports by THISDAY News, state governors met on Wednesday to deliberate and take a position on the allocation by NPHCDA.
The governors, under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), are also optimistic that with the experience gathered by the states in polio eradication, they can effectively handle the distribution and vaccination of the Covid-19 vaccine.