Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, yesterday, Tuesday, January 5,2021 in Abuja, while briefing newsmen shortly after a bilateral meeting with the Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi who is on a working visit, has said that the Federal Government of Nigeria has opened talks with the Peoples Republic of China to have access to COVID-19 vaccine for Nigeria.
Onyeama stated that at this point when countries were discovering vaccines and China being one of them, Nigeria was engaging the country in the area of access to the vaccine. Recalling how the China was of immense assistance to Nigeria at the advent of the pandemic, noting that the donation of protective equipment and greatly assisted the nation in the fight against COVID-19.
“We have received a lot of support from China in the area of personal protective equipment that they were very quick to provide us with and of course, with the vaccine discoveries now, China is also one of those countries that have been able to discover vaccines for COVID-19, so we are also engaging with China to also help with regards to access to vaccines for our people,” Onyeama said.
According to Foreign Minister Onyeama, the relationship between both countries has dated 50 years, adding that both countries have many areas of cooperation to celebrate.
“We also realized that in 2021, we would be celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations between Nigeria and the Peoples Republic of China,” he said.
Giving insights into some of the deliberations during the closed-door meeting, Onyeama said that he and his counterpart looked at the trade relations between the two countries and areas that could be improved like the health issues and the global pandemic.
“In the area of fostering relations, both countries are now considering having a direct flight from Nigeria to China. We want to establish direct air link with China. We hope that very soon, a Nigerian carrier would be carrying out scheduled flights to China in the not-too-distant future,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has said that Nigeria hopes to get 42 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine soon to cover one fifth of its population.
The Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, disclosed this at the Presidential Task Force briefing on COVID-19. Shuaib said that the vaccine would be delivered through the global COVAX scheme. He stated further that the initial doses would come as part of Nigeria’s plan to inoculate 40 per cent of the population in 2021.
“The COVAX scheme was set up to provide vaccines to poorer countries such as Nigeria, whose 200 million people and poor infrastructure pose a daunting challenge to medical officials rolling out the vaccinations, as the West African country battles a second, larger spike in coronavirus cases.
“Nigeria, where officials recorded low coronavirus numbers through much of 2020, had 1,204 new cases on Monday, its highest ever, as total confirmed cases edge closer to 100,000.” Shuaib explained.
He also said that Nigeria must educate its citizens on the importance of COVID-19 vaccination