COVID-19: Oyo in talks with manufacturer for more vaccines

OYO State governor, Mr Seyi Makinde, on Wednesday, said the government had opened discussions with a manufacturing company, Astra-Zeneca, with a view to directly procuring COVID-19 vaccines for residents of the state.

Speaking during a media briefing held at the Government House, Ibadan, Makinde said the state decided to go directly, considering that the 1,800 vaccines meant for Oyo State from the 100,000 vaccines procured by the Federal Government will be inadequate.

He added that the move was also because the state does not have the facilities to store the procured vaccines of the Federal Government at the required minus 70 degrees centigrade.

Makinde said: “If you want to vaccinate 100,000 people out of a population of 200 million, it won’t make much difference. For Oyo State with a population of between seven million and 12 million, 1,800 vaccines won’t go anywhere.

“So we are exploring other means of getting these vaccines to our people. We are opening discussions directly with the manufacturer to see how we can get as many as possible for our people. So, for now, the protocol remains the same.”

This is as he added that the state was to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a firm to use its oxygen facility in taking care of COVID-19 patients. Makinde said though available data did not point to a second wave in the state, he warned residents against being complacent. He said the state had so far conducted 34,000 COVID-19 tests with 14,000 tests done from December till date.

On insecurity, he bemoaned that some village heads are also contributing to the challenge by allocating land to undocumented foreigners. The governor, however, said he will not hesitate to sanction such village heads. Noting that such undocumented individuals may be contributing to insecurity, he said the state will begin a process of documenting such foreigners.

In the same light, he added that a task force is to be set up to document persons working in mining sites as well as commercial tricycle and motorcycle operators. He warned that commercial vehicle and motorcycle operators either register or be constrained to a particular timeframe of operation. Addressing observed friction between men of the Nigerian Police Force and operatives of Amotekun, Makinde said work is in progress to align the terms of operation of the two outfits. He particularly decried misinformation, fake news on Amotekun which he said was being driven by persons who did not want the outfit to succeed.

Makinde said: “Since Amotekun was deployed, we have seen various reports in the news. Most of these reports are good, a few are bad. Of the bad, quite a number are false information and fake news.

“There are people among us that do not want Amotekun to succeed and they will use lies, disinformation to push their agenda. We must realise where we are coming from and think of where we really want to be. Community policing is the way forward and we have to make it work,” he said.

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