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NCDC raises hope on potential COVID-19 vaccine, makes promise to Nigerians

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said that it is working hard to ensure that Nigerians have access to the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines when available.

The Director-General of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, gave the assurance on Monday during the Presidential Task Force (PTF) briefing on COVID-19 in Abuja.

Ihekweazu said that the centre was working with the global community to ensure access.

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He disclosed that data on research and development of a vaccine against COVID-19 by the global scientific community showed that results on a possible vaccine were expected in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The DG, while noting that a vaccine was the best weapon in taming the virus, however, stressed that equitable access was key.

He added that the health agency was working together with other colleagues around the continent, through the Africa CDC, to start advocating for some of the trials to be done with African institutions in the short term.

He said: “To do this, we have to build capacity, gather sufficient data and include African institutions in these efforts.

“We have to start preparing the Nigerian population for vaccine delivery when it becomes available.

“Access is a very key issue when it comes to vaccines; that a vaccine is developed does not necessarily translate to being available to those that need it the most.

“So, through the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is working with GAVI to ensure that vaccines are available to countries regardless of their ability to pay.”

Recall that GAVI, an international organisation – a global Vaccine Alliance, bringing together public and private sectors with the shared goal of creating equal access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries.

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