The Long awaited COVID-19 vaccines have finally arrived in Nigeria.
The country received nearly four million doses of the vaccine, which was shipped through the COVAX Facility, a partnership between CEPI, Gavi, UNICEF and WHO.
It was gathered that COVAX shipped 3.94 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India and arrived from Mumbai to Abuja around 11.30 am.
“Nigeria has just received the first batch of Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID—19 vaccine,” presidential aide Bashir Ahmad wrote in a tweet.
The United Nations in Nigeria, in a statement made it clear that the arrival marked a historic step towards the goal to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines globally.
It was also gathered that the delivery is part of the first wave of arrivals in Nigeria.
According to the UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, “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.”
Already, 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,” Managing Director for Country Programmes at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Thabani Maphosa, added.
“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.”
Also, while speaking, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, WHO Representative in Nigeria, said, “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.”
Recall that the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines from Covax facility was received by Ghana, as announced by UNICEF and the World Health Organization.