The Federal Government says the private sector is not allowed to import COVID-19 vaccines, adding that all vaccines must come through the government.
Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, stated this on Tuesday while featuring on a PUNCH Live interview.
Nigeria rolled out its vaccination programme against the lethal coronavirus infection on Friday with about four million doses of AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine was earlier approved for use in the country by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control.
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo were vaccinated against the virus on Saturday on Live TV to demonstrate the safety of the vaccine.
Nigerians who wish to receive the vaccines are enjoined to register on the website of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.
Speaking on Tuesday, the minister said private sector participation of the vaccine distribution was not allowed at the moment and the government won’t be responsible for any outcome of such “backdoor channel”.
Mamora said, “Before any vaccine will be given by any manufacturer, there must have been an indemnity clause and that is why we made it clear that any vaccine that does not come in through the right government channel, we will not allow it because if it is not coming in through government, we cannot take responsibility for it.
“We have been making this clear to everyone and we are not inclined to at this point allow private sector participation in terms of bringing in the vaccines unless private sector is going to pay into the account of the Afrexim Bank and then the vaccines can then be supplied from the source that we can verify and that we know.”
“The government is going to be responsible for the indemnity signed and that is why we are not making it compulsory. It is not compulsory but it is desirable that people take the vaccine,” the minister added.