Nigeria 'working on COVID-19 vaccine'

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  • Muhammadu Buhari
    7th and 15th President of Nigeria

Nigeria is working to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, President Muhammadu Buhari says, as the country battles growing cases of the virus.

Health experts say Nigeria needs to triple its vaccination drive from just over 100,000 doses a day to meet its target of inoculating more than half its population by the end of next year.

The West African country has been exploring options to acquire or purchase vaccines through the COVAX facility to enable it to vaccinate at least 70 per cent of its population.

It received vaccine donations some of which had a shelf life that left only weeks to administer the shots. Nigeria last month destroyed more than one million expired vaccines.

"We are working very hard with the ministry of health to develop vaccines," Buhari said on state television.

"We shouldn't make noise about it until we succeed."

Nigeria, which has not tested widely for COVID-19, has recorded 245,404 COVID-19 cases and 3058 deaths since the pandemic started.

In 2017, Nigeria's cabinet approved a plan to produce basic vaccines with pharmaceutical firm May & Baker Nigeria via a joint venture.

It is not clear whether the project took off.

Buhari said his administration is encouraging Nigerians to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Fewer than four per cent of adults in Africa's most populous nation of more than 200 million people have been fully vaccinated.

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