Nigeria is expected to receive the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines, which is 15 million, from AstraZeneca under the COVAX programme.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 national briefing in Abuja on Monday.
Though the minister did not specify the date or time, he disclosed that the government had been advised to expect the first batch of the vaccines from February.
He said, “According to latest information I have, we have been advised to expect the first COVID-19 vaccines from Covax to arrive in Nigeria as from February. We shall continue to review plans to ensure smooth roll out in our country.”
According to him, the delay being experienced in receiving the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines was because manufacturers were yet to take decisions on when to deploy it to the country.
“The date of first arrival of vaccines in Nigeria has kept changing, because the decision lies with the manufacturer who already has heavy commitments.
“Nigeria had been allocated over 42 million doses by the AU’s African Vaccines Acquisition Task Team AVATT and was expecting 15 of about 42 million doses from COVAX. Altogether, it will give us coverage for over 50% of our target for 2021, if we can access all doses promised,” he added.
What WHO says …
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called for global equity in the allocation of vaccines, noting that COVID-19 was a threat to mankind, and not only to any country alone.
Besides, the Director-General of WHO has repeatedly stated that no country is safe till all countries are safe.
“We have been keeping a strict eye on the vaccines scene and those who follow International news may have heard of the scramble for vaccines which has pitched some countries against each other in Europe, as wealthy high-income countries have pre-paid to allocate vaccines to themselves.”
“A spokesperson for WHO estimated that 95 per cent of vaccines manufactured globally so far has gone to only 10 rich and powerful countries,” Dr Ehanire said.
Why it matters
- On Monday, Nairametrics had reported that South Africa took delivery of its first batch of the vaccines, a development that has made several Nigerians ask when the Federal Government would take its own delivery too.
- Also, the Senate has urged the Federal Government to make sufficient funds available for the procurement and administration of COVID-19 vaccines on Nigerians.
- It described as unfortunate, the failure by the government to produce a plan for the purchase, distribution and administration of the therapy, despite the fact that many nations globally had done so.