The President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, has cautioned the Federal Government to consider Nigeria’s storage facilities and situation of electricity before procuring COVID-19 vaccines.
He said this in an exclusive interview with The PUNCH on Thursday.
According to him, it is safer for the country to buy vaccines that are suitable for its existing storage facilities.
The PUNCH reports that the Federal Government had last week said it was expecting 100,000 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine before the end of the month.
But Ohuabunwa advised the Federal and state governments to consider other alternatives, if the government has the choice.
The pharmacist cautioned that it would be tough to store vaccines at minus 70 centigrade in Nigeria, recommending Oxford/Astra-Zeneca and Russia’s Sputnik vaccines.
He said, “We should consider the ability to manage the logistics, to store them safely and move them from port to hospital, clinics, and pharmacists where they will be administered to the patients and Nigerians.
“What matters most is the ability to manage the logistics, especially the ability to maintain a cold chain. With this, the Pfizer vaccine may not perfectly fit into our circumstances here. If we have a choice, we should go for the Oxford/Astra-Zeneca vaccine. It is easy to maintain with the facilities we have in holding other vaccines.
“Pfizer or Modena require below zero centigrade to store. And in our country with our power situation, and the infrastructure we have, it will be a big work. It is not as if they are not durable but it is going to be tough.
“If we have a chance we should go for the Oxford/Astra-Zeneca or the one by the Russians. They can be stored at our normal temperatures, in our fridges. If we do not have a choice, we should take what we have and do our best to ensure that we keep the vaccines and biologicals alive, because heat will denature it if it is not kept at the required temperature. It will be useless.”
Meanwhile, Ogun, Oyo, and Cross River states have faulted the number of COVID-19 doses allocated to them by the Federal Government.
The Executive Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib, who disclosed this on Tuesday last week during a press conference of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, said the country would later in the year receive 42 million free doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
According to the data shared by NPHCDA, the distribution breakdown is as follows Kano, 3,557; Lagos, 3,131; Katsina, 2,361; Kaduna, 2,074; Bauchi, 1,900; Oyo, 1,848; Rivers, 1,766; Jigawa, 1,712; Niger, 1,558; Ogun, 1,473; Sokoto, 1,468; Benue, 1,423; Borno, 1,416; Anambra, 1,379; Kebbi, 1,268; Zamfara, 1,336; Delta, 1,306; Imo, 1,267; Ondo, 1,228; and Akwa Ibom, 1,161.
Others are Adamawa, 1,129; Edo, 1,104; Plateau, 1,089; Enugu, 1,088; Osun, 1,032; Kogi, 1,030; Cross River, 1,023; Abia, 955; Gombe, 908; Yobe, 842; Ekiti, 830; Taraba, 830; Kwara, 815; Ebonyi, 747; Bayelsa, 589; FCT, 695 and Nasarawa, 661.