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LASG, pharmaceutical firms begins negotiation on COVID-19 vaccine procurement

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

As part of the strategy to break the coronavirus transmission chain in Lagos, the State Government and pharmaceutical firms have started negotiation to make the vaccines available across the state.

The State Government explained that the move was embarked upon after Lagos became epicenter of the virus in Nigeria with over 39, 723 cases, 31,290 discharged as against 8,164 patients on admission as well as 269 deaths recorded since the outbreak to yesterday.

In a letter written to respond to a resident’s complaint and titled: Re: Communal spread of COVID-19 pandemic in Lagos State and incapacity and the unwillingness of the LASG to enforce compliance with COVID-19 pandemic protocols, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo, announced the ongoing negotiation but did not list the firms.

Onigbanjo, while responding to the complaint raised by a resident, who was identified as Mr. Uthman, in the letter made available to The Guild, alluded to claims that the state has the highest number of infections and fatalities, saying, this is why the government is taking different measures to flatten the curve.

He noted that one of the measures, already taken by the government, was to increase testing locations and to ensure that Lagosians participate, the exercise was made free in state-owned medical facilities.

According to him, about 20 private laboratories have been given permission to carry out tests in order to provide alternatives to members of the public who want their tests done for a variety of reasons. It is only these private labs that charge a fee for tests.

“As at date we are testing about 3000 persons a day from 60 public and 20 private Sample collection centres, spread out across 57 Local Government and Central Public Health Labs in the State”.

Aside from the testing, Onigbanjo explained the government has commissioned an oxygen plant at Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba with a capacity to produce 60 large cylinders a day of high-grade medical oxygen.

The Attorney General noted that in spite of the numerous strategies, the state government has commenced efforts to fast-track treatment and reduce infections across the state with the procurement of vaccines.

Onigbanjo said: “The State government is also currently discussing with vaccine manufacturers with a view to making vaccines available to Lagosians”.

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