Covid-19 Update: 1 in 5 Lagosians Have Contacted Coronavirus, FG not Sure about Vaccine

The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) has added another public covid-19 testing laboratory to its network. This is part of its effort to make sure more people get tested without paying a fee. The latest addition is in Ondo State and the full list of the public testing centres can be found here.

4,687 people were infected with the virus in the week between 17th and 23rd February. Compared to the previous week when 6,606 tested positive, the number of confirmed cases reduced. The lowest daily number of cases so far in 2021 was recorded on Sunday, February 21.

Here are the other developments

We cannot tell when Nigeria will receive vaccines – FG

The Federal government has said it is no longer certain when to expect delivery of Covid-19 vaccines. This was revealed by the Minister for Health, Prof. Osagie Ehanire while on a working tour of facilities at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital.

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“The question of when you get a vaccine depends on when the manufacturer can give you a vaccine.”

Osagie Ehanire

He further added that though vaccines from the COVAX facility are expected by the end of February, that may not be guaranteed because the vaccine manufacturers have commitments to other countries that have prepaid for them. He also said the countries where vaccines are manufactured have their own needs too and will be of higher priority in the distribution chain.

“But we hope that if it may not be now, it will be by March. But it doesn’t lie in our hands. It is when the vaccine is given to them (COVAX) we are ready to receive it,” he said.

1 in 5 Lagosians have contacted covid-19 -survey report

About 1 in 5 people in Lagos would have been infected with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus; the virus that causes covid-19. This is according to a study by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the Nigeria Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) and their partners. Similar to the figure for Lagos state, 1 in 3 persons would also have been infected once in Enugu, Nasarawa and Gombe States.

The survey findings showed that the SARS-CoV-2 antibodies were more prevalent in Lagos and Enugu States with both found in 23% of the test pool. A prevalent rate of 19% was found in Nasarawa State and 9% in Gombe State.

This means that as many as 1 in 5 individuals in Lagos, Enugu and Nasarawa State would have ever been infected with SARS-CoV-2. In Gombe, the proportion is about 1 in 10.

The rate of infection is higher than those reported through the NCDC daily numbers and shows that the spread of infection in the states surveyed is wider than what is detected.

The survey also showed higher rates of infection in males than females with a 10:7 ratio in Gombe and a 21:17 ratio in Nasarawa. It is more prevalent in urban areas compared to rural ones and persons between the ages of 18 and 64 are more at risk of contracting the virus.

AFREXIM bank approves $2  billion for vaccines for African nations

Benedict Oramah, President of AFREXIM Bank
Source: Business Elites Africa

African countries now have $2 billion to aid with the procurement of vaccine doses, courtesy of the African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim). This monetary support was announced on Tuesday by the bank’s president, Benedict Oramah.

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Oramah said the bank is working on securing more funds to help African countries acquire more vaccines. Recall that the African Union has secured 270 million vaccine doses for member countries. However, this will only cater to about 15% of the continent’s population.

15% is not enough for mass immunity as this requires about 40% to 60% to be vaccinated. The $2 billion aid from AFREXIM would help the continent procure more vaccines and be on its way towards mass immunity. Nigeria is also exploring payment options for vaccines which include an Afrexim financing plan that will allow the country to repay in instalments within five to seven years

Children to be exempted from vaccination

Children in Nigeria will not be vaccinated. This clarification is from the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib.

At the weekly briefing of the Presidential Task Force on Monday, Shuaib said that the vaccines have been tried in individuals above 16 years of age for the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine and above 18 years in the Oxford- AstraZeneca vaccine. None has been tried on children and it won’t be wise to administer it to them.

The guidance is that these (above 16 years) are the only individuals that it is safe to try the vaccines on.

Faisal Shuaib

“However, from the data that has been shared by the NCDC, people who are most affected by COVID-19 are those that are adults or those that have co-morbidity, especially the elderly,” he added.

Lagos launches app to verify Covid-19 PCR test results

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Passengers travelling by air from Lagos now have to verify their covid-19 PCR test results through an app. This was announced by the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi.

The app will verify all test results carried out by any of the Private Laboratory Consortium (PLC) and all state public laboratories. The verification can alternately be carried out through USSD codes by dialling *35131*19# on the 9mobile network and *55500*19# on all other networks.

The app can be downloaded on the Playstore or on the internet through here. The first 30,000 results that are verified will be done for free while subsequent ones will attract a charge of N50 per result.

Featured image credit: The Economist


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