Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State said his government is exploring acquisition of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which is easily stored than the Pfizer vaccine being distributed by the Federal Government.
Makinde who said the 1,800 units of vaccines allocated to the state are grossly inadequate in a state of between 7-10 million people.
He spoke at a press conference in Ibadan on Wednesday.
“The Federal Government, from what we read, has allocated 1,800 vaccines for Oyo State. First, in Oyo State, we don’t have a facility to store at minus 70 centigrade. Again, this number is grossly inadequate. If you want to vaccinate 100,000 people out of a population of almost 200 million, it is not going to make any dent.
“And Oyo State, which has a population of between 7-12million, 1,800 vaccines are not going to go anywhere. So, we are exploring other means of getting these vaccines to our people.
“I have been advised by the experts that the Astra-Zeneca Vaccine is more suitable for Oyo State due to storage instructions.
`’So, we are opening discussions directly with the manufacturer so that we can get as many as possible for our people once it is certified.
Similarly, the governor addressed the surge in cases of COVID-19 in the state and the country, saying that the virus is still very much in the state and that residents must continue to adhere to the protocols to prevent the spread while also following the food advisory once released by the state to boost their immune system.
He advised that individuals must show responsibility by owning their actions.
According to Governor Makinde, the data available to the state are not showing a second wave of the virus as the curve was never flattened.
He said the state tested about 20,000 samples of people who were mostly sick or had direct contact with those who had the virus between March and December 2020. About 3,000 tested positive.
He stated that the state has equally conducted about 14,000 tests on people including those not showing any symptom based on the NCDC guidelines between early December and January 2021 and that 696 tested positive.
In.all, he said that the state has conducted more than 34,000 covid-19 tests.
“With recent happenings and talks on the second wave of Covid-19, it becomes necessary that I address you. Let me start by talking about the issue of this supposed second wave.
“I have always said that all our responses to covid-19 in Oyo State will be guided by data, science and logic. So, as far as Oyo State is concerned, the data we have is not pointing to a second wave as the curve was never flattened.
“The data says COVID-19 is still very much with us. Science is telling us that we can slow down the spread by taking precautions. So, the logical thing to do is to follow what science dictates. We know how difficult the year 2020 was for a lot of us. So, logically, we should not do things that will make the situation worse. This is not the time to let down our guard. If anything, we should not take any of the precautions lightly.
“In the last month, we have unfortunately had eight deaths. Even though many people have mild to moderate symptoms, it is severe for a few, and since we do not know who it will be severe, we need to keep our guard up.
“On our part, we are doing everything within our power to provide more resources for the EOC to continue to manage the spread of this disease.
“We are facilitating greater collaborations between the laboratories, the University College Hospital, Ibadan, and our Infectious Disease Centre at Olodo. We are also carrying out training for private clinics/hospitals so they can follow the right protocols.
“For those who may need oxygen, we are signing an MOU with a firm for supply of oxygen and the use of their facilities if need be. They already have facilities in the state and they are providing oxygen at UCH. So, we are just asking them to factor Oyo State into their production schedule.”
“For now, the protocol remains the same. Professor Alonge and his team will continue to manage the COVID-19 situation for us but what I will say to everyone is, you have to own your action. I have to own mine action too.”