Nigerian govt orders 2 million‎ doses of meningitis vaccine, says minister

Nigerian govt orders 2 million‎ doses of meningitis vaccine, says minister
April 05 19:41 2017

The Minister of State for Health, Mr. Osagie Ehanire, said on Wednesday that the federal government has ordered two million doses of vaccine for the Type C meningitis that has reportedly killed over 300 persons in the country.

Briefing journalists at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja, the minister said government already got 500,000 doses of the vaccines through World Health Organisation (WHO).

He said another 826,000 doses of the vaccine donation from Europe were on the way to the country, stressing that as the situation goes on, government would be able to determine whether to increase the number of order or not.

The minister told journalists that procuring the vaccines was expensive as they cannot be ordered off the shelve because of their short life span.

“The vaccines are extremely expensive to make ‎and if you acquire and store and you don’t use, it might expire and is bad business. So companies make the vaccines on request and on demand and they store just as much as they calculate will be used. So, the Type C was not very much in demand, but right now this present epidemic has led to a big demand.

“To allay the fears of Nigerians about the response of the ministry. there has been a very robust response of ‎the ministry and the concerned state governments along with the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, Nigeria Primary Health Care Development Agencies, World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF and other partners.

“What has caused this problem to be peculiar is that it is caused by a total different strand of the Meningitis germ. It is the Type C. This country before suffers Meningitis around this time of year when dry season is turning to raining season in the area called the ‎Meningitis belt that ranges all the way from Senegal down to Ethiopia, Eritra. And the prevailing germ was the Meningecocus A.

“And the mass vaccines that has taken place all these years has led to almost total elimination of Type A. Type C has been very rear and this year it is the Type C that appeared. Unfortunately there is no cross immunization, if you are immune to Type A doesn’t make you immune to Type C. And because Type C is very rear the availability of vaccines has been very meager relatively,” he said.

‎The minister also distanced the federal government from view expressed by Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara state that the outbreak of the meningitis was a punishment from God for the sins being committed by the people.

“The federal government does not have views of that nature‎ and I am not sure the state government can really continue to make that statement. When things happen, yes you can begin to look this way and that way for the cause of it. Nature played us unfortunate stroke, but that is not to say we committed sin or anything. It does happens that things occur out of the blues,” he said.