COVID-19: South Africa Aims To Vaccinate One Million By End Of March

Doctor Anike Baptiste (L) receives a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine against the COVID-19 coronavirus from Mokgadi Malebye, a professional nurse, as South Africa proceeds with its inoculation campaign at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria on February 17, 2021.
Phill Magakoe / AFP


South Africa is targeting an ambitious plan to vaccinate one million people against Covid-19 by the end of March after a late start to its inoculation campaign, the country’s health minister said Thursday.

So far around 32,000 healthcare workers have received vaccinations developed by US pharma giant Johnson & Johnson since February 17, when the rollout began with a first batch of 80,000 doses.

The country, which was slow to join in the global jostle for vaccines, hopes to take delivery of another 500,000 doses from Johnson & Johnson in the coming days.

Thereafter, a consignment of 600,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine will follow.

“This will be able to get over 1.1 million people vaccinated between now and hopefully the end of March,” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize told lawmakers.

That will cover most of the country’s healthcare workers.

READ ALSO: Johnson & Johnson’s Single Shot COVID-19 Vaccine Highly Effective, Says US Regulator

Africa’s hardest-hit nation by the pandemic suffered a setback after it decided against administering one million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca formula it received on February 1, citing concerns over whether it protected against a widespread virus variant that emerged in the country.


Relatives observe undertakers unloading a casket containing the remains of a COVID-19 coronavirus patient during a funeral at the Avalon cemetery in Soweto, on July 24, 2020. Michele Spatari / AFP


Most of the large supplies of vaccines are expected to start flowing in from April to June, the minister said, noting the government was banking on bilateral negotiations to fill its deficit of doses.

On Wednesday, the government announced plans to allocate $688 million for vaccines.

South Africa, the continent’s most industrialised economy, aims to inoculate around 40 million people — 67 percent of the population — by the end of 2021.

It has already committed to deals for nine million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 12 million doses from the Covax facility and 20 million from Pfizer.

Mkhize said “a lot of work” was being done to acquire Russia’s Sputnik vaccine and Sinopharm from China.

Discussions are also ongoing for the purchase of jabs from US biotech firm Moderna, which said Wednesday it was ready to start test its new vaccine candidate aimed at the coronavirus variant identified in South Africa.

South Africa has recorded more than 1.5 million virus cases of which nearly 50,000 have been fatal.


First Vaccines Delivered Under Global Covax Scheme

Airport workers unload a shipment of Covid-19 vaccines from the Covax global Covid-19 vaccination programme, at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, on February 24, 2021. PHOTO: NIPAH DENNIS / AFP


Ghana became the first country to receive vaccines from the global Covax scheme on Wednesday, paving the way for poorer nations to catch up with inoculation drives to stamp out the coronavirus pandemic.

But Europe’s vaccine rollout faced fresh woes after AstraZeneca said it would only be able to deliver half its promised doses to the EU, deepening ongoing tensions with the bloc oversupply shortfalls.

More than 217 million vaccine doses have been administered globally, according to an AFP tally Wednesday, though the vast majority have been given in high-income countries.

Hopes are high that the inoculations will allow the world to finally emerge from a pandemic that has killed more than 2.4 million, infected 112 million, and hammered the global economy.

READ ALSO: Ghana Receives World’s First Doses Of Free Covax Vaccines

But health experts have warned that unless the whole world has access to vaccines, the pandemic will not end.

The head of the World Health Organization applauded the first delivery of the Covax vaccines Wednesday with an enthusiastic tweet.

“At last!” posted WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“A day to celebrate, but it’s just the first step.”

The WHO is one of several organisations behind Covax, which aims to deliver at least two billion doses globally by the end of the year.

The 600,000 doses delivered to Ghana in a ceremony broadcast live on television are from Oxford/AstraZeneca, and will be administered in several Ghanaian cities from Tuesday.

They are part of an initial tranche of deliveries headed to several low and middle-income countries, including to Ivory Coast this week.

Covax, led by Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, the WHO, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), is seeking to ensure vaccines are equitably distributed globally.

So far, Israel, the United States, and Britain are leading in vaccine rollouts, while many poor countries have yet to receive a single jab.


– ‘Menacing’ third wave –

But as the watershed delivery was celebrated in Ghana, there was more bad news for Brussels over its scramble to secure coronavirus vaccines for the European Union.

AstraZeneca said Tuesday its EU supply chains would only be able to deliver half of an expected order of 180 million doses, but assured it would fill the gap by using its international network.

It is the latest setback for the bloc which has come under fire for its sluggish vaccine rollout.

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen was locked in a war of words with AstraZeneca earlier this year after accusing the British-Swedish firm of breaking a contract by delaying vaccine deliveries.

But she struck a more affable tone Wednesday, saying she was “optimistic” about the rollout.

“New questions are always arising that we can generally resolve amicably,” she told a German newspaper, in comments published Wednesday.

Elsewhere on the continent, Hungary forged ahead with its own campaign, administering Chinese-made Sinopharm jabs in a first for the EU.

The country has criticised Brussels for its procurement problems and turned not only to China but also to Russia to secure jabs.

This month it also became the first EU nation to administer Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, in a bid to beat back rising infections and deaths.

“A third wave of the virus is menacing Hungary,” Prime Minister Viktor Orban said as he announced the Chinese vaccine rollout.

Ukraine also celebrated a landmark Wednesday, giving a doctor the country’s first Covid shot after a slow start of its own that sparked widespread anger.

Meanwhile, in France, which has faced global embarrassment over its stuttering vaccination campaign rollout, the government said new regional restrictions could be imposed amid “a worsening situation”.

“Rapid and strong measures” are needed to combat spiraling infections in some French regions, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said, refusing to rule out another national lockdown.

Elsewhere in the world, there was a glimpse of normality more than a year into the pandemic as sports fans streamed into a brand new cricket stadium in Ahmedabad, India — the world’s biggest.

“I am here with my whole family for this historic moment. We have taken precautions for coronavirus by wearing masks. I hope India wins,” said an “excited” Tarun Parmar, ahead of a Test match against England.


COVID-19: Russia Begins Vaccination Of Homeless People

A healthcare worker administers to a woman a dose of Russia’s Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac) vaccine against the Covid-19, at a vaccination centre in Saint Petersburg, on February 21, 2021, as Russia launched a mass Covid-19 vaccination campaign for homeless people. Olga MALTSEVA / AFP


Forty homeless people in Saint Petersburg received coronavirus vaccine jabs on Sunday, under a charity initiative that has received the backing of local officials.

“Here there are many people at risk. It is important for them to be vaccinated,” said Taysia Suvorova, of the Nochlezhka non-governmental that organisation provides aid to the homeless in Russia’s second city.

The 40 people receiving the vaccine are currently housed by the charity.

According to official figures there are 15,000 homeless people in the former imperial capital, out of a total population of five million.

READ ALSO: 31 Dead In DR Congo Plague Outbreak

Nochlezhka believes the real figure is at least double that.

“Some people have been saying controversial things about the vaccine, but I think there are more advantages than negatives,” 57-year-old Galina Ivanovna told AFP, after receiving the first dose of the vaccine.

“I’m pretty happy to do it,” she added.

Fellow recipient Aleksandr Suvorov, 60, echoed her sentiment, adding that the vaccine was a good thing “because the situation is complicated with coronavirus”.

Homeless people queue to receive a dose of Russia’s Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac) vaccine against the Covid-19, at a vaccination centre in Saint Petersburg, on February, 21, 2021, as Russia launched a mass Covid-19 vaccination campaign. Olga MALTSEVA / AFP


An NGO has already launched a similar initiative for the homeless in Moscow, aided by the authorities in the Russian capital.

Russia registered its first coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V, back in August.

A second Russian vaccine , EpiVacCorona, was approved in October 2020. The country officially launched its programme of mass vaccinations in January.

On Saturday Russia announced the registration of its third coronavirus vaccine Kovivak.

According to official figures, 4.6 million coronavirus cases have been registered in Russia, 83,293 of wich have proved fatal.



Zimbabwe Receives First Batch Of COVID-19 Vaccines

Zimbabwe officials receive a cargo plane with COVID-19 vaccines. Photo: @edmnangagwa/Twitter


Zimbabwe has received its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has announced.

The President, on Monday, shared photos of a cargo plane with COVID-19 vaccines while making the announcement via his official Twitter handle.

He also announced the country will start COVID-19 vaccination this week.

“The first batch of vaccines for Zimbabwe has been successfully delivered. We start vaccinating Zimbabweans this week!

“The faster our country is protected against this virus, the faster Zimbabwe’s economy can flourish,” Mnangagwa tweeted.

This positions Zimbabwe as the first southern African country to start inoculating citizens.


Zimbabwe Health Ministry had earlier on Friday said it will begin its Covid-19 vaccination campaign this week.

READ ALSO: Lebanon Receives First COVID-19 Vaccines

The ministry said it expects to take delivery of the first shipment of 800,000 vaccine doses, 200,000 of which were donated by the Chinese government.

“The vaccine will immediately be distributed to all provinces and districts across the country,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The vaccination programme begins next week after the country takes delivery of the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines,” it added.

The vaccines will be first distributed to 10 provincial storage facilities, then to 1,800 clinics, it said, adding that there was adequate cold chain equipment to keep the vaccines “in their potent state up to the point of use”.

Frontline workers deemed most at risk of infection have been lined up to receive the first shots.

The government aims to vaccinate 10 million of its over 14.5 million population to achieve community immunity.

Instagram Blocks Robert F. Kennedy Jr Over COVID-19 Misinformation

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Instagram blocked Robert F. Kennedy Jr from the social media network for spreading misinformation about Covid-19 and vaccines, the company confirmed Thursday.

“We removed this account for repeatedly sharing debunked claims about the coronavirus or vaccines,” a spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, told AFP.

The nephew of assassinated US president John F Kennedy nonetheless remained active on Facebook, where he had made similar posts promoting debunked claims about the harm done by vaccines.

“We don’t automatically disable accounts across our apps, because the accounts may post about different things on our different services,” the spokesperson said.

The environmental activist and son of former US attorney general Robert F Kennedy have repeated a false claim that the recent death of baseball legend Hank Aaron was linked to the Covid-19 vaccine.

He had previously posted misinformation about the flu vaccine.

Kennedy frequently has gotten involved in controversial issues and personalities, speaking last summer to a massive demonstration in Berlin of coronavirus deniers organised by the far right, and joining forces with Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez to provide heating oil to poor Americans.

Facebook also removed several other accounts from the two sites for spreading vaccine disinformation.


US Panel To Assess Moderna Vaccine As Europe Vows Shots Before Year End

(FILES) In this file photo taken on August 13, 2020, Biotechnology company Moderna protocol files for Covid-19 vaccinations are kept at the Research Centers of America in Hollywood, Florida. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP)


American experts were set to discuss Thursday if Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine should be authorized, as European nations vowed to get their coronavirus inoculation campaigns rolling before the end of the year.

Surges in infections have prompted tighter restrictions in several European countries, while the United States — the worst-hit nation in the world — set a double record, with more than 3,700 deaths and 250,000 new cases in 24 hours on Wednesday.

With the US floundering in its efforts to control the virus, Moderna’s vaccine is seen as a potential boost in the fight against Covid-19, and approval from the experts’ panel on Thursday could potentially pave the way for a rollout early next week.

“Recent news on vaccines has been very positive. However, significant challenges and uncertainties remain with regard to the timing, production, and distribution of vaccines as well as their efficacy across different groups,” Jerome Powell, chair of the US Federal Reserve, said Wednesday.

“The ongoing surge in new Covid-19 cases both here, in the United States, and abroad is particularly concerning. And the next few months are likely to be very challenging.”

Should the panelists vote in favor of the Moderna vaccine, as is widely expected, the Food and Drug Administration is likely to give a green light soon after, making the US the first country to approve it.

The US has already started vaccinating people with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and is hoping to have 20 million people immunized in December.

Healthcare workers and long-term care residents are at the front of the line, and efforts are under way to convince the American public that the vaccines are safe.

The White House announced Vice President Mike Pence and his wife will get the vaccine on Friday in a public display, while a spokeswoman said President Donald Trump is “absolutely open to taking the vaccine.”

Since Trump recently recovered from a bout of Covid-19, he is thought to be currently immune.

– ‘It’s stressful’ –
Known global infections are fast approaching 74 million, with more than 1.6 million deaths, and nations across Europe were battling surges in Covid-19 numbers with fears of an explosion in cases over the Christmas period.

The spikes have prompted tighter restrictions across many countries on the continent, which is nearing 500,000 deaths from the disease.

Denmark, France, Turkey and the Netherlands have all strengthened curbs, while Germany began a new partial lockdown on Wednesday to curb the spread of the virus.

“It feels like a Sunday,” said Ines Kumpl, 57, observing the deserted streets of Berlin on the first day of a new partial lockdown. “These measures are necessary but it’s stressful.”

Germany has said it will begin vaccinations on December 27, a date expected to be matched across the European Union.

France said it would receive around 1.16 million vaccine doses by year-end, with a further 2.3 million coming over the next two months.

Pressure has been mounting on the European Union to speed up approvals since Britain and the US started their immunization programs with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

– Bolsonaro U-turn –
As much of the world waits to get a shot, Twitter said that it would crack down on false posts and conspiracy theories about vaccines.

The policy will include action against claims — presented without any evidence — that the vaccine is being used to intentionally cause harm or control people.

Brazil’s virus-skeptic President Jair Bolsonaro performed an about-turn on Wednesday as he backed the national mass immunization campaign.

His support came a day after he told a well-known television presenter: “I won’t get vaccinated. It’s my problem. Full stop.”

While wealthier nations have managed to secure large numbers of doses, there are concerns that poorer nations may not get access any time soon.,

Peru, which has one of the world’s highest Covid-19 mortality rates, has admitted it had no idea when it would be able to get hold of sought-after vaccine stocks.

WHO Hails ‘Encouraging’ Covid Vaccine News

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a press conference organised by the Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus, on July 3, 2020 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva. Fabrice COFFRINI / POOL / AFP
File photo: World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a press conference organised by the Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus, on July 3, 2020 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva. Fabrice COFFRINI / POOL / AFP


The World Health Organization chief hailed Monday “encouraging” news about Covid-19 vaccines but expressed concern about surging cases in many countries and insisted that complacency was not an option.

“We continue to receive encouraging news about COVID-19 vaccines and remain cautiously optimistic about the potential for new tools to start to arrive in the coming months,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual press briefing.

But he added: “This is no time for complacency.”

His comments came as global hopes of overcoming the coronavirus pandemic were boosted after a second candidate vaccine was found to be nearly 95 percent effective in an ongoing trial.

The news from the US biotech firm Moderna brought much-needed optimism to a world facing surging infections and gruelling new restrictions.

It came after similar results were announced last week for a vaccine candidate developed by pharma giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.

But WHO has warned that widespread availability of any vaccine remains a long way off, even as Covid-19 cases and deaths surge in many parts of the world.

“This is a dangerous virus, which can attack every system in the body,” said Tedros. “Those countries that are letting the virus run unchecked are playing with fire.”

– Vaccine alone ‘won’t end pandemic’ –
Globally, infections have soared past 54 million with more than 1.3 million deaths, and experts caution there are still difficult and dangerous months ahead.

“A vaccine on its own will not end the pandemic,” Tedros warned earlier Monday.

During the evening press conference, he said WHO was “extremely concerned by the surge in cases we’re seeing in some countries”.

He voiced particular alarm about the situation in Europe and the Americas, where health workers and systems “are being pushed to the breaking point”.

“Health workers on the frontlines have been stretched for months. They are exhausted,” he warned.

“We must do all we can to protect them, especially during this period when the virus is spiking and patients are filling hospital beds.”

Tedros insisted that countries had “no excuse for inaction.

“A laissez-faire attitude to the virus -– not using the full range of tools available -– leads to death, suffering and hurts livelihoods and economies,” he said.

“It’s not a choice between lives or livelihoods. The quickest way to open up economies is to defeat the virus.”

100m Extra COVID-19 Vaccine Doses For Poorer Countries- Vaccine Alliance

(FILES) In this file photo Dr. Nita Patel, Director of Antibody discovery and Vaccine development, lifts a vial with a potential coronavirus, COVID-19, vaccine at Novavax labs in Gaithersburg, Maryland on March 20, 2020, one of the labs developing a vaccine for the coronavirus, COVID-19. ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP.


Up to 100 million additional doses of any eventual COVID-19 vaccines will be secured for delivery to poorer countries in 2021, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, announced Tuesday.

The announcement doubles the number of doses already secured from the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume, by Gavi and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, following an initial agreement last month.

“This brings the total number of vaccine doses to be covered by the partnership between SII, Gavi, and the Gates Foundation to an aggregate of up to 200 million doses,” Gavi said in a statement.

It stressed that the agreement “provides an option to secure additional doses, potentially several times the 200 million dose total,” if needed, adding that the vaccines will have a ceiling price of $3 per dose.

Under the agreement, SII will receive upfront capital to scale up its manufacturing capacity to produce candidate vaccines being developed by AstraZeneca and by Novovax.

The idea is for the manufacturer to be able to begin rolling out millions of doses as soon as a vaccine, or vaccines, receive approval from regulators and the World Health Organization.

The doses will be distributed through Covax, the international coronavirus vaccine procurement pool created by the WHO to ensure equitable access to the jabs, “as early as the first half of 2021”, the statement said.

“No country, rich or poor, should be left at the back of the queue when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines; this collaboration brings us another step closer to achieving this goal,” Gavi chief Seth Berkley said in the statement.

Covax, which aims to lay its hands on two billion doses of safe and effective vaccines by the end of next year, has struggled to raise the funds needed to provide for the 92 low-income countries and other economies that quickly signed up.

WHO announced last week that more than 60 wealthy nations had joined, but a number were not yet on the list, including the United States, China and Russia.

Gavi also signed a memorandum of understanding with AstraZeneca back in June for access to another 300 million doses of its candidate vaccine, but those would be made available to all participants in Covax, not just the poorer countries.




UK Signs Up For Sanofi-GSK Coronavirus Vaccine

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers a speech during his visit to Dudley College of Technology in Dudley, central England on June 30, 2020. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / POOL / AFP)


Pharma giants Sanofi and GSK said Wednesday they have agreed to supply Britain with up to 60 million doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine.

The agreement covers a vaccine candidate developed by France’s Sanofi in partnership with the UK’s GSK and is subject to a “final contract”.

Amid a global race to find a vaccine to halt the pandemic, Sanofi announced “ongoing discussions with the European Commission, with France and Italy on the negotiation team, and other governments to ensure global access to a novel coronavirus vaccine.”

Both companies voiced in a statement their commitment “to making their COVID-19 vaccine candidate affordable and available globally”.

The vaccine candidate “has the potential to play a significant role in overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic, both in the UK and around the world,” said GSK Vaccines President Roger Connor.


File: A member of the ambulance services assists in moving a patient from an ambulance to St Thomas' Hospital in London on March 31, 2020, as the country is under lockdown due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Tolga AKMEN / AFP.
File photo: A member of the ambulance services assists in moving a patient from an ambulance to St Thomas’ Hospital in London on March 31, 2020, as the country is under lockdown due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Tolga AKMEN / AFP.


Sanofi predicted regulatory approval for the vaccine “could be achieved by the first half of 2021”.

UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma, quoted in the statement, hailed the progress but noted “the fact remains that there are no guarantees”.

“In the meantime, it is important that we secure early access to a diverse range of promising vaccine candidates, like GSK and Sanofi, to increase our chances of finding one that works so we can protect the public and save lives.”

Britain has already secured access to 90 million doses of potential coronavirus vaccines in deals with biotech firms BioNTech, Pfizer and Valneva.

The deals involve 30 million doses of a vaccine being developed by US pharma giant Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech, and 60 million doses of another created by France’s Valneva.

The government in London has also said it would purchase 100 million doses of a vaccine currently being trialed by Oxford University in partnership with AstraZeneca.

“This diversity of vaccine types is important because we do not yet know which, if any, of the different types of vaccine will prove to generate a safe and protective response to COVID-19,” Kate Bingham, chairwoman of the British government’s vaccine taskforce, was quoted as saying.

Britain has been one of the worst affected countries in the world since the outbreak began, with more than 45,750 deaths.



There Are Nearly 150 Prospective COVID-19 Vaccines, 19 In Clinical Trials – WHO

(FILES) This file photo taken on April 29, 2020 shows an engineer taking samples of monkey kidney cells as he make tests on an experimental vaccine for the COVID-19 coronavirus inside the Cells Culture Room laboratory at the Sinovac Biotech facilities in Beijing. Photo:NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP)


The World Health Organization (WHO) African region has said there are about 150 prospective COVID-19 vaccines being developed with 19 in clinical trials.

“Globally, there are nearly 150 COVID-19 vaccine candidates and currently, 19 are in clinical trials,” the WHO Africa said in a statement on its website.

Also, WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti in a statement on Thursday called on the continent to take steps to ensure they have fair access to the vaccine.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Records 460 New Cases Of COVID-19 As Total Infections Exceed 30,000

Moeti lamented that African countries lag behind when it comes to new technologies as well as vaccines while calling for equity when the COVID-19 vaccines are finally released.

“It is clear that as the international community comes together to develop safe and effective vaccines and therapeutics for COVID-19, equity must be a central focus of these efforts,” she said.

“Too often, African countries end up at the back of the queue for new technologies, including vaccines. These life-saving products must be available to everyone, not only those who can afford to pay.”

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, has over 30, 000 COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday, June 7th, 2020. Channels TV/Benjamin Oluwatoyin.


The WHO Africa region noted that South Africa is the first country on the continent to start a clinical trial for COVID-19 vaccines.

“African Academy of Sciences only 2% of clinical trials conducted worldwide occur in Africa,” the agency said.

“I encourage more countries in the region to join these trials so that the contexts and immune response of populations in Africa are factored in to studies,” said Moeti.

“Africa has the scientific expertise to contribute widely to the search for an effective COVID-19 vaccine.

“Indeed, our researchers have helped develop vaccines which provide protection against communicable diseases such as meningitis, Ebola, yellow fever and a number of other common health threats in the region.”

Pandemic Probe

On Thursday, the WHO launched an independent review into the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Announcing the assessment, which will be presented next May, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it should help the world understand how to prevent such crises in the future.

The Independent panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response will be headed by former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark and former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

“Through you, the world will understand the truth of what happened and also the solutions to build our future better as one humanity,” Tedros said at the UN agency’s headquarters in Geneva.

VIDEO: The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) wants to establish a testing centre in Nasarawa State.