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AstraZeneca: Nigeria suffers setback as India prioritises vaccinating citizens

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Nigeria’s hope to vaccinate 70 percent of its over 200 million population has been dealt a further blow, with India, supplier of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to COVAX, suspends exportation till the end of 2021.

The decision of the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines, to halt supplies to the World Health Organisation (WHO) scheme was announced on Tuesday as part of India’s effort to concentrate more resources on fighting the rage of the deadly COVID-19 variant rocking the country currently.

India’s coronavirus infections crossed 25 million as daily death toll hit a record high.

The move also further highlights the consequences a nation like Nigeria has to face for failing to build its own capacity to produce vaccines for its people.

Nigeria is currently a beneficiary of the WHO-coordinated COVAX facility as the AstraZeneca vaccine doses currently being distributed in the country are sourced from the SII.

After supplying roughly 4 million out of 16 million doses expected from COVAX, the institute has now delayed deliveries to other countries till year end, casting uncertainty on the future of vaccination in Nigeria.

Roughly 2 million vaccine doses, half of the initial consignment received, have been administered already under the first phase. Disruptions in the supply might elongate the interval required between the administration of first and second doses of AstraZeneca and affect efficacy.

Except for states such as Lagos, where second vaccine doses have been earmarked from initial allocation, many states that have exhausted their consignments are likely to be stranded.

“SII has delivered more than 200 million doses,” the Serum Institute said Tuesday in a statement posted to its Twitter account. The company said that in the past few days, there had been “intense discussion” on the decision of the Indian government and vaccine manufacturers about the possible export of vaccines.

We continue to scale up and prioritise India,” the company said, saying, “We also hope to start delivering to COVAX and other countries by the end of the year.”

Battling the world’s biggest jump in coronavirus infections, India halted vaccine exports a month ago after donating or selling more than 66 million doses.

Africa’s biggest economy has already started exploring other options outside India, with 29 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine expected through the African Union.

The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Tuesday granted an emergency use authorisation (EUA) for the single-dose COVID-19 vaccines developed by Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.

Support is also likely to come from the US under a fresh commitment to donate a significant number of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX scheme for distribution to poorer countries.

A total of 20 million doses of the Pfizer Inc, Moderna Inc and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be sent by the end of June, apart from 60 million AstraZeneca doses already planned for donation, Joe Biden, US president on Monday.

Also on Wednesday, Gayle Smith, the US global coordinator on COVID said the US was also planning to increase its funding for COVAX, in addition to $2 billion which she said it had already donated to the facility.

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Tinubu not hospitalised, will be back shortly – Aide

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The media adviser to the national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, has said the APC leader has not been hospitalised as being reported by a section of the media.

Tunde Rahman, in a statement made available on Saturday said Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State, is “fine, hale and hearty.”

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“He is not in any hospital. He has no medical problem that would require hospitalisation. Yes, he is out of the country at the moment. He will be back shortly,” Mr Rahman said.

There had been speculations over Mr Tinubu’s health, especially with the APC leader visibly absent at recent political events. His absence was a talking point due to his reported ambition to run for president in 2023.

During last Saturday’s local government election in Lagos, party supporters and journalists, who were hopeful to see Mr Tinubu cast his vote, were told he had travelled out of the country. He was also absent during Saturday’s APC ward congress in the state.

Mr Rahman said any time his principal travels out out of the country, “the next thing some mischievous people would say is he is sick, hospitalised or has died.”

It is shameful that perpetrators of this evil are not deterred by the fact that each time this fake news has been propagated, they have been proven wrong.

“Who really is afraid of Asiwaju Tinubu? Those wishing Asiwaju Tinubu evil or dead should be careful. They should know the matter of life and death is in the hand of only God Almighty.”

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Wase hails Buharii for establishment of orthopaedic hospital Jos

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The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase has applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for signing

the Orthopedic Hospitals Management Board (Amendment) Act, 2021.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Monday 26th July 2021 signed the Orthopedic Hospitals Management Board (Amendment) Act Cap. O10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to provide for the establishment of the Orthopedic Hospital Jos Plateau State..

The Hospital which is under the control of the Orthopedic Hospitals Management Board, will be affiliated to the University teaching hospital Jos and will provide specialised orthopedic treatment and medical services.

Recall that the House of Representatives had on 24 March 2021 approved the amendment of the Orthopaedic Hospitals Management Board Laws to provide for the establishment of Orthopaedic Hospital in Jos.

The bill which was sponsored by the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon Ahmed Idris Wase will provide specialised orthopedic treatment and other medical services.

Speaking when he received the executive governor of Plateau who was in his house to comisarates with him over the death of his elder sister Hajia Maryam, who passed on recently, the Deputy Speaker said the orthopedic hospital would bring a relief to the people of Plateau and the entire people of north central and northeast geopolitical zones.

The Deputy Speaker further said “on behalf of the good people of Plateau state, I wish to sincerely thank His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari for assenting to the bill and the executive governor of Plateau state, his excellency Dr. Simon Bako Lalong for his untiring support in the processes that led to the passage and signing of this bill.

Earlier in his remarks, Governor Lalong said he received the cheering news of the President’s assent to the amended Act with excitement and profound gratitude because of the impact it will have not only on the people of Plateau State, but the entire neighbouring States.

Lalong also praised the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Idris Wase for sponsoring the bill and following through with its passage and assent.

He thanked the leadership of the National Assembly, members of the Plateau caucus in the National Assembly and other legislators who played a great role in supporting the passage of the amended Act.

He assured of the cooperation of the Plateau State Government towards the successful take off and operations of the Orthopaedic Hospital.

Umar Muhammad Puma
Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives.

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BREAKING: Buhari heads to UK for medical check-up, summit

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President Muhammadu Buhari will on Monday depart Abuja for the UK to participate in the Global Education Summit on Financing Global Partnership for Education (GPE) 2021 to 2025.

The President’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, who confirmed this development in a statement in Abuja on Monday, said the summit would be co-hosted by the Prime Minister of the UK, Boris Johnson, and the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta.

According to him, the summit will bring together Heads of State and Government as well as stakeholders and youth leaders, and provide a platform for partners to chart a way forward towards transforming education systems in partner countries, through an exchange of best practices.

“It will also offer the opportunity for leaders to make 5-year pledges to support GPE’s work to help transform education systems in up to 90 countries and territories.

“Deliberations at the Summit will focus on: The Power of Education –A Conversation between Global Champions; Transforming Education for Girls; Financing for Impact and Recovery and; What Now? Priorities for Transforming Education in the Coming Five Years, among others,’’ Adesina stated.

He revealed that the Nigerian leader would also hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

He said: “After the Summit, the President will spend a few days for an earlier scheduled medical check-up.

“He is due back by the second week of August 2021.’’

The presidential aide disclosed that Buhari would be accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of State Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, National Security Adviser, retired Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno and Director-General of National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.

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