The Federal Government has spent at least $29 million to procure the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines in the country.
This is according to the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.
“We have procured Johnson and Johnson, about 40 million doses, at about $29 million. The 40 million doses will come in stages. We have not requested that they be brought in bulk because we are going to be receiving them as we are dispensing them,” the minister said.
“In addition to that, we have received doses from partners, friends, and other countries all going through the Covax facility and the Covax facility collates all vaccines that other countries want to give to us.”
He equally reacted to the fears posed by the spread of the new Omicron coronavirus variant, calling on countries to join hands to confront the new health challenge in the world.
When asked how deadly the Omicron variant is, the Ehanire said it has not been classified as deadly.
This, to him, is because there has not been any case of fatality nor severe illness reported yet.
“Up till now, it cannot be classified as deadly because zero fatalities have been reported. No severe illness has been reported,” he explained.
“The United Kingdom has reported about 246, about 86 in the last 24 hours but they have not reported any fatalities or any severe illness.”
On the ban imposed by some countries against Nigerian travellers in a bid to contain the spread of Omicron, he expressed unhappiness over the development.
Ehanire’s comment is coming less than a day after the UK placed Nigeria and other countries on a red list.
“From 0400 on Monday 6 December, Nigeria will be added to the red list for entering England,” the UK government’s travel advisory on Nigeria said.
This means Nigerians who do not have UK citizenship or residence permit can no longer travel to the country until the advisory is revised.
The UK’s move followed a similar decision by their Canadian counterpart which banned travellers from Nigeria, Egypt, and Malawi over fears of the new variant, bringing the number of African countries targeted by Ottawa to 10.