COVID-19: Pfizer assures Nigerians of Vaccine supplies

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Pfizer, a research-based global biopharmaceutical company, says Nigeria will remain a priority country in its plans for the supply of viable COVID-19 vaccines to Africa.

Daily Times gathered that Pfizer Country Manager and Representative in Africa, Subair Olayinka, gave this assurance on Wednesday, during a virtual meeting between representatives of the BNT162 COVID-19 vaccine candidate and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

The meeting was to discuss the progress of vaccine development around the world, including Africa.

Olayinka noted that the BNT162 COVID-19 vaccine trials are still ongoing, adding that it would be entering the third phase, having just concluded the first two phases successfully.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, during the meeting, said the Federal Government would examine every possible option available in the development and distribution of a vaccine against the COVID-19 pandemic.

He noted that the interaction between the Federal Government and the promoters of the vaccine candidate is important and essential especially in the face of the pandemic, adding that the health and safety of every Nigerian remains a priority.

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 “It is an important conversation. It is important for us that we are prioritised as the largest country in Africa in the distribution of the best COVID-19 vaccine when it’s eventually ready.

“Our priority is the health of Nigerian citizens. We continue to engage and intend to look at every possible option -from all manufacturers- of a good vaccine. We want to do the very best for our people in this regard,” Osinbajo said.

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said the Federal Government would consider quality, appropriate volume, how well and quickly a vaccine can be delivered to Nigerians in deciding which manufacturer to make the supply.

The meeting was also attended by the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib and representatives of Pfizer and Biotech, the international pharmaceutical firms promoting the BNT162 vaccine candidate.

In March, Pfizer Inc and Biopharmaceutical New Technologies (BioNtech) announced plans to work together to co-develop a potential COVID-19 vaccine.

While Pfizer is an American multinational pharmaceutical corporation, BioNtech is a German immunotherapy company specialising in cancer medicine and other life-threatening diseases.

The companies signed the Material Transfer and Collaboration Agreement on March 18, 2020, thereby kick-starting an intense process of working together to find a vaccine that could put an end to the pandemic.

The collaboration aims to accelerate the global development of mRNA-based vaccine candidate BNT162, thereby leveraging the expertise and resources of both companies. 

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Oluwadamilola Adedeji

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