- Nigerians have been assured that nobody would be administered expired COVID-19 vaccines across the country
- The assurance was given to Nigerians by the federal government through the minister of health, Osagie Ehanire
- Ehanire's assurance followed reports in the media that about one million vaccines presently in the country had expired in November
The federal government on Wednesday, December 8, reacted to the report that about one million COVID-19 vaccines in Nigeria expired in November.
In a press statement signed by the minister of health, Osagie Ehanire, which was sent to Legit.ng, the FG said its attention has been drawn to reports circulating on the matter.
Ehanire said since the roll-out of the vaccination campaign in Nigeria, the country has received donations from various countries across the globe.
He said some of these countries have offered doses of vaccines out of their stockpiles free of charge either through COVAX or AVAT facility.
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The minister, however, said that some of the vaccines donated arrive in Nigeria with a shelf life of a few months or weeks left on them, coupled with time spent on logistics - transport, delivery, clearance among others.
He added that while the Nigerian government always appreciated these donations, the FG send communication of the challenges of the shelf life to the donors.
In some cases, Ehnaire said the manufacturers of the vaccines have offered to extend the shelf lives by three months to which although a practice accepted by experts, the FG has always declined.
"Nigeria does not dispense vaccines with a validity extended beyond labelled expiry date. We continue to adhere to our rigorous standards."
"Donation of surplus Covid-19 vaccines with expiring shelf lives to Developing Countries has been a matter of international discussion."
While also noting that this challenge is not specific to Nigeria, Ehanire said FG has utilized most of the over 10 million short-shelf-life doses of Covid-19 vaccines so far received in good time.
He added that the Nigerian government has also saved N16.4 billion or more than $40m in foreign exchange since the vaccination campaign roll-out.
"The vaccines that expired had been withdrawn before then, and will be destroyed accordingly, by NAFDAC."
"The long term measure to prevent such incidents is for Nigeria to produce its own vaccines so that vaccines produced have at least 12 months to expiration."
"This is why the Federal Ministry of Health is collaborating with stakeholders to fast-track establishment of indigenous vaccine manufacturing capacity. This is a goal we are pursuing with dedication."
Nigeria detects new cases of Omicron variant of COVID-19
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 pandemic is spreading in Nigeria due to person-to-person contact.
This new trend was announced by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on Tuesday, December 6.
The NCDC in its statement disclosed that three new cases were recorded on Tuesday, bringing the total number to six.
FG reacts to the British travel ban over Omicron, alleges most infected travellers from the UK
Also, on Sunday, December 5, the federal government ruled out the possibility of restricting foreign travellers from visiting Nigeria despite travel bans on the country by Canada, the United Kingdom, Indonesia, Singapore and Hong Kong.
This was just as the government stated that most of the in-bound passengers that tested positive for COVID-19 were from the UK.
The minister of health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, made this disclosure during an interview on Sunday.