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COVID-19 Vaccine Won’t Be Available In Nigeria Until Next Year –Minister

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has appealed to Nigerians to continue to adhere strictly to the recommended preventive measures against COVID-19 as the vaccine will not be available in the country until 2021.

The minister warned that non-compliance with the recommended protocols for reducing the spread of the virus, could lead to spike  in Nigeria  as being experienced in some parts of the world.

Dr. Ehanire gave the warning during the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Press Briefing in Abuja on Thursday.

“It is important to remind ourselves that COVID-19 is real and spreading wildly in some parts of the world as we speak. Some countries are experiencing the so-called second wave, with all the complications that go along with this easily spreading disease; another country is to go under lockdown again. This is something Nigeria must endeavour to avoid”, he said.

According to him, compliance with all recommended measures, like wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding gatherings etc. will go a long way to help. 

“Vaccines will not be available till next year at best, and no new reliable therapeutic has been confirmed, but we must restart businesses, including travel, to allow citizens to earn their livelihoods”, he added.

He also disclosed that, as at 17th September, 2020, the country has so far recorded a total of 56,604 covid-19 positive cases out of a total of 482,321 samples tested, with 47,872 persons treated and discharged, while 1091 persons were sadly lost to the disease.

The minister appealed to people who tested positive to COVID-19 especially the elderly and those with underlying health conditions to immediately report to a treatment facility, as it has been observed that most fatalities are among those reporting late for treatment, when their clinical condition has worsened. 

Dr. Ehanire added that there are enough facilities across the country to cater for them. “There is no shortage of beds reported from any of the states”, he further explained.

He also informed of Federal Government’s plan to distribute oxygen concentrators and ventilators to various health institutions across the country, to enable them provide oxygen therapy to persons presenting with respiratory distress, till they are referred to treatment centres; thus improving their chances of survival.

He said the Federal Government is currently working with State Government officials to sustain sample collections and response activities, with emphasis on surveillance and treatment, in order to drive containment.

The minister also pointed out that Nigeria on Thursday, 17th September, 2020 joined the rest of the world to commemorate the World “Patient Safety Day”, a day set aside by the World Health Assembly, to recognise and highlight the safety of patients under treatment, as a global health priority.

The theme for this year’s event, he added was, “Health Worker Safety: A Priority for Patient Safety”, with the slogan of “Safe health workers, safe patients”.

While commending the efforts of the health care workers, he  again appealed to the striking members of Joint Health Sector Union to put the plight, safety and well-being of their patients into consideration and to call off their industrial actions, while differences are being addressed by negotiation.

“Although we are confronted with the global pandemic, the heroic role of frontline healthcare workers to keep the rest of us safe must be recognized. They work odd hours, endure stigma, risk infection and even their lives”, he stressed.


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