Nigeria has received nearly four million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, shipped via the COVAX Facility, a partnership between CEPI, Gavi, UNICEF and WHO.
The PUNCH learnt that COVAX shipped 3.94 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, from Mumbai to Abuja.
According to a statement by United Nations in Nigeria, the arrival marked a historic step towards the goal to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines globally.
The PUNCH gathered that the delivery is part of the first wave of arrivals in Nigeria.
UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, said, “The UN Country Team in Nigeria reiterates its commitment to support the vaccination campaign in Nigeria and help contain the spread of the virus.
“The arrival of these vaccines in Abuja today marks a milestone for the COVAX Facility in its
unprecedented effort to deliver at least 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines globally by the end of 2021.”
The National Primary Health Care Development Agency had said it would commence the vaccination of Nigerians in priority groups, starting with frontline healthcare workers.
“This is a landmark moment for the country and the COVAX Facility’s mission to help end the acute phase of the pandemic by enabling equitable access to these vaccines across the world. We are glad to see Nigeria is amongst the first receiving the doses from COVAX, thanks to the excellent level of preparedness put in place by the Government of Nigeria,” said Thabani Maphosa, Managing Director for Country Programmes at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
“Gavi looks forward to these vaccines being made available to the people most at risk, as soon as possible, and to ensuring that routine immunization services for other life-threatening infections are also delivered to avoid other disease outbreaks.”
Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, WHO Representative in Nigeria, added, “It is heart-warming to witness this epoch-making event and WHO wishes to congratulate the government of Nigeria for its participation in the global vaccine collaboration (COVAX) efforts and its commitment to protecting Nigerians against this pandemic.
“Vaccines are a critical new tool in the battle against COVID-19; therefore, this is a step in the
right direction. These vaccines have undergone rigorous regulatory processes at global and country level and have been deemed safe and effective.”