The Federal Government has ruled out the possibility of another total lockdown of the country due to the upsurge of the Delta variant of the COVID-19 disease.
Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this to State House correspondents after the ministerial briefing organised by the presidential communication team.
According to him, the experiences from the previous lockdown across the world have shown the devastating consequences of total lockdown.
He noted that from the past experiences, countries across the world were opting for precision lockdown to pinpoint specific locations where there was an upsurge in COVID-19 cases.
He said, “Now, as for the lockdown, lockdown is a very, very last measure that countries are taking because our lockdown stifles economic activity, restricts your own freedom and your business – both corporate business, government business, private business all are affected.
“So it looks like something you do easily. And of course when we were compelled to have that lockdown, at the beginning we learnt a lot of lessons. You know, at that time government provided palliatives to ameliorate the impact of it if you couldn’t go to market if you couldn’t do your business.
“But this is not what government is aiming to do, no government wants to do a lockdown. In countries where they have had serious threat, they have had to do what they call a precision lockdown like in the UK. In fact, Israel the other day announced that they’re doing some lockdown, but there’s no more generalised lockdown or precision of certain areas.
“So many countries do what they call precision lockdown. So that is not everybody that will be affected, only certain areas to avoid too much damage to the economy, to social life. And we are not at the level yet where we are feeling that threat to do any lockdown.
“But I will tell you that many countries are not in generalised lockdown, precision lockdown. And as I speak to you now there are several countries who are on one kind of lockdown or the other, if my recollection is correct at least six or seven countries that are doing one form of lockdown or the other. We do not have that on the table right,” he said.
The Minister also said that Nigeria aimed to get about 40 million doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccines, disclosing that so far the government has acquired about 29,850 million doses of the vaccine at a cost of $10 per dose and that the entire shipment will be delivered to the country before the end of August 2021.
The minister, who disclosed that the price of the J&J vaccine has been reviewed downward from $10 to $7.50, added that the procurement and funding of the vaccines was being executed by Afroexim Bank with headquarters in Cairo.
Speaking at the briefing, Director General (DG), National Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, said that the postponement of the commencement in the administration of the Mordena vaccine for COVID-19 was due to inadequate information on bar coding on the vaccine and not as a result of its efficacy.
She added that bar coding on the drug would aid drug administrators in monitoring fake vaccines in circulation, emphasising that Nigeria became the first country globally to adopt bar coding and Geographic Information System (GIS) to track vaccines distribution and monitoring.
In his own contribution, Executive Director, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHDC), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, said that Nigeria has so far vaccinated about 2.3% of its eligible population since the kick-off of vaccination in the country in March 2021.
Shuaib said that the government targets the vaccination of about 70% of eligible population in two years from the time the vaccination kicked off adding that the projection of the government is to have about 120 million of its citizens vaccinated under the programme.
Shuaib allayed the fears of Nigerians who have taken the first dose of the Astra Zenecka stressing that the government was expecting 3.9 million dose of the vaccine before the end of August this year to facilitate the completion of the second dose of the vaccine.
The NPHCDA boss added that the second dose of the vaccine is available to be administered to those so far vaccinated before the expiration of their first dose.