Nigeria's Buhari welcomes vaccine progress, calls for equitable distribution
FILE PHOTO: Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. /VCG Image

FILE PHOTO: Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. /VCG Image

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has welcomed an announcement by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech that an experimental COVID-19 vaccine is more than 90 percent effective based on initial trial results.

Buhari called for equitable distribution of the vaccine globally upon approval for delivery.

"I welcome the news that a Coronavirus vaccine has recorded 90% effectiveness in clinical trials. This is a major milestone. The world must now make great effort to facilitate equitable access and distribution of these vaccines, to protect people in all countries," he said.

By Tuesday, Nigeria had reported 64,184 confirmed COVID-19 infections, the seventh-highest tally in Africa. It has also recorded 1,158 deaths from the disease.

Scientists, public health officials and investors have also welcomed the first successful interim data from a large-scale clinical test of the vaccine. However, mass roll-outs, which need regulatory approval, will not happen this year.

Pfizer and German partner BioNTech said they had found no serious safety concerns yet and expected to seek the U.S. emergency use authorization (EUA) later this month, raising the chance of a regulatory decision as soon as December.

If granted, the companies estimate they can roll out up to 50 million doses this year, enough to protect 25 million people, and then produce up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021.