Ministry to inaugurate 18 man committee on vaccine

The Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) says it will inaugurate an 18-man National COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force (VTT), as part of measures to ensure the safety of the virus vaccine in Nigeria.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said this on Monday in Abuja at the joint national briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.

“Now that it is known that the vaccines are close, the Federal Ministry of Health is taking measures for the safety of the vaccines, for which a National Task Force on COVID-19 Vaccines of 18 men will be inaugurated with seven Terms of Reference ( ToR).

“The terms of reference will include the generation of strategies for the acquisition, implementation and options for the licensed production of Biovaccine Nigeria Ltd.

“Our options with the Covax-led facilities remain our first line of commitment,” said Ehanire.

It said that as of Monday, November 23, 2020, Nigeria recorded 66,383 COVID-19 cases out of 743,298 samples tested so far, with 62,076 people successfully treated and discharged.

He said the nation sadly recorded 1,167 deaths with a fatality rate of 1.76%.

The minister said eight states accounted for 72 percent of confirmed cases, because they were constantly testing and reporting.

According to him, of the 1,235 confirmed cases reported in 22 states last week, Kaduna, Lagos, FCT, Oyo, Plateau and Ogun account for more than 84 percent.

“So we are not yet where we want to be with our test rate. We will continue to engage states to strengthen active case finding and testing, as we are committed to reducing the fatality rate to less than one percent, to save more lives from COVID-19.

“We are by no means out of the woods and we must not become complacent.

“Citizens with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, or those who had contact with confirmed COVID-19 patients should come forward for testing and, if they test positive, comply with treatment instructions,” he said.

The minister said the government was monitoring the growing number of COVID-19 cases in Europe and America by strengthening treatment capacity, ensuring that health workers were kept up-to-date and ensuring that health facilities had adequate supplies of necessary materials. .

He said the government was also reviewing entry protocols at the nation’s borders, to reduce COVID-19 import risks by sealing gaps in the current protocol and responding to emerging threats.

He said: “The strategies for capacity development continue, with training at the national level of intensivists, from which three trainers will emerge per state and FCT, who will reduce the training to nurses and other cadres of health workers.

“The strategy to keep our health system ready includes ensuring the availability of oxygen at Treatment Points and increasing the availability of oxygen to state hospitals and APS,” he said.

Ehanire said the government would analyze the reports from the isolation and treatment centers to identify gaps and challenges, the results of which would be used to address subject areas such as isolation and treatment center monitoring, logistics, data management, training, and development and review of protocols. and POE.

He also advised against non-essential travel to high-burden countries, due to the increased risk of exposure to infections, especially from people with known comorbidities.

The minister also said that the “strange deaths” reported in the states of Delta, Enugu, Ebonyi, Benue, Bauchi and Kogi, turned out to be an outbreak of yellow fever, as confirmed by the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC), which he was responding professionally. with rapid response teams to the outbreak.

“Of 586 suspected cases, 40 were confirmed in laboratory tests, with 10 deaths last week,” he said.

Ehanire said that despite the increased COVID-19 alert, Nigeria still hosted the global Stop TB Alliance Board meeting last week, in which President Muhammadu Buhari delivered a virtual welcome message. and the First Lady, Hajiya Aisha Buhari made a statement, as the TB Champion.

He said: “Nigeria’s response in the fight against tuberculosis declined due to COVID-19 and a new strategy was needed to improve performance.”

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