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COVID-19: WHO says shortage of 1bn syringes may occur by 2023

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World Health Organisation (WHO) says shortage of at least one billion syringes “could occur”, if manufacturing does not pick up based on global demand for syringes.

WHO said that based on a scenario where around seven billion people would need two doses of Coronavirus vaccine between now and 2023, a shortage of at least one billion syringes could occur.

According to the agency, efforts to boost COVID-19 vaccine production should be matched by access to the syringes needed to inject them.

It added that there could even be a global shortage of needles for regular immunisation campaigns by 2022.

Lisa Hedman, WHO Senior Advisor, from the Access to Medicines and Health Products division, warned that a generation of children might miss scheduled immunisation jabs unless manufacturers found a way to make more single-use disposable syringes.

“When you think about the magnitude of the number of injections being given to respond to the pandemic, this is not a place where we can afford shortcuts, shortages or anything short of full safety for patients and healthcare staff,” the WHO expert said.

She told newsmen in Geneva on Tuesday that more than 6.8 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines were being administered globally per year, which was nearly double the number of routine inoculations delivered annually:

“A shortage of syringes is unfortunately a real possibility and here’s some more numbers.

“That the global manufacturing capacity of around six billion a year for immunisation syringes, it’s pretty clear that a deficit in 2022 of over a billion could happen if we continue with business as usual.”

Hedman explained that reusing syringes even after they were sterilised was not advised, as harmful bacteria remained present.

She also noted that syringes were particularly prone to transport delays because they took up 10 times the space of a vaccine.

Meanwhile, the heads of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank Group, WHO and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) held a follow up session of High-Level Consultations with the CEOs of leading COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing companies on Tuesday.

At the meeting, according to a news release, all participants agree on the urgency of delivering more vaccine doses to low-income countries, where less than 2.5 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated.

The objective of the meeting was to identify how to ensure more equitable distribution of vaccines and all those participating pledged to continue working together to gain greater clarity on donations, vaccine swaps and delivery schedules.

The meeting was to ensure that distribution of the life-saving vaccines could be more effectively targeted towards those countries most in need.

The meeting of the Multilateral Leaders Task Force on COVID-19 built on technical work undertaken by multidisciplinary teams during the months of September and October.

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No president will say there won’t be banditry next year — Lai Mohammed

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has said that no president will say banditry will next year.

Lai Mohammed said this while responding to a question on whether the current security challenges would end before President Muhammadu Buhari leaves office in 2023.

Responding to the question at a press conference on Wednesday December 15, Lai Mohammed said;

“Nobody, I’m not sure any president will say by next year there will be no banditry. It is just like saying by next year, there will be no thief.

“But what is important is that they should judge us by our achievement. We’ve not thrown our hands in the air. There was a time they asked us to hire mercenaries, but our soldiers are doing their best in these circumstances.”

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Buhari jets out Turkey for summit

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President Muhammadu Buhari will on Thursday leave Abuja for Istanbul, Turkey, to attend the third Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit, hosted by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the Republic of Turkey.

According to the organisers, the theme of the Summit is ‘‘Enhanced Partnership for Common Development and Prosperity’’ and the agenda includes reviewing the cooperation between African countries and Turkey since the last Summit in 2014.

This was disclosed in a statement by Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, on Thursday morning.

The third Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit is coming on the heels of President Erdogan’s recent State visit to Nigeria during which several agreements in the fields of energy, defence industry, mining and hydrocarbons were signed to expand existing bilateral ties.

The Turkish leader had during the visit to Nigeria, affirmed his commitment to immediately expand the volume of trade between the two countries to 5 billion dollars and the Nigerian delegation will seize the opportunity of the gathering in Istanbul to enhance cooperation with other partners for more trade and investment opportunities in the country.

It is expected that the Summit would provide guidelines and direction for cooperation with African countries for the next five years.

President Buhari will be accompanied on the trip by his wife, Aisha Buhari; the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Defence, Maj-Gen. Bashir Magashi (Rtd); FCT, Mohammed Bello; Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire; Agriculture, Mohammed Abubakar; Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo; the National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (Rtd); and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.

The President is expected back in Abuja on Sunday, December 19.

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2023 presidency: I’m not going to turn it down – Tinubu

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The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has said he will not turn down the calls of those asking him to contest for president in 2023.

Tinubu stated this after a meeting with leaders of the Northern Alliance Committee in Abuja on Tuesday.

Speaking to journalists after the meeting, the former Governor of Lagos said he would, however, make consultations before officially announcing a decision on the matter.

“I’m not going to turn them down but I will still effectively and widely consult, particularly brainstorm with my friends and find a date to come out openly to tell Nigerians.

“But the president is still in office. I don’t want to distract him from all the challenges that he might face today.

“So, don’t muddle the political water. Consult, make our programme known to the people later,” Tinubu said.

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