By Deborah Musa, Abuja
Nigeria marked one year anniversary on Wednesday, since the shipment of its first COVID-19 vaccine into the country
The country has so far received 67,973,250 doses of vaccine ranging from AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer Bio-N-Tech and Johnson&Johnson through the COVAX facility
Some of these vaccines were procured by the Federal Government and the rest came in as donation from GAVI and other countries which includes the United States, United Kingdom, Slovenia, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Spain, Italy, France, Norway, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, India and most recently, Japan
The government of Japan who is the most recent donor, made a donation of 859,600 AstraZeneca vaccines via the COVAX Facility and 175 solar direct drive refrigerators for the vaccines to the Nigerian government through the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency(NPHCDA) On Wednesday
This was stated in a NPHCDA statement that read “
“The country has so far received 67,973,250 doses of COVID-19 vaccines including 2,100,000 doses out of the Johnson and Johnson vaccines procured by the Federal Government of Nigeria. About 96.9% (65,873,240) doses) of the vaccines received were through the COVAX Facility. While more than 47million doses are in the pipeline from now to the end of the year.
The Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, while receiving the vaccines and solar Direct Drive Refrigerators appreciated the Covax Facility and donors for facilitating access to COVID-19 vaccines by low and medium-income countries like Nigeria.
He added that the Vaccine donation bolsters the global effort to defeat the coronavirus pandemic while he expressed excitement over the Solar Direct Drive Refrigerators donated as it is much needed because of the epileptic power supply in the country
Dr Shuaib said “we are particularly happy about the Solar Direct Drive (SDD) Refrigerators because of their advantages in independent and uninterrupted power source for vaccine storage. We have since deployed the SDDs to 24 states of the federation based on vaccine coverage, equity and making sure we reach the last mile.”
The Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency, Matsuyama Kazuyoshi disclosed in the statement that Japan is committed to promoting vaccine equity globally.
The statement read “As part of its commitment to ensure vaccine equity around the world, the Government of Japan is honored to be a part of this global vaccination effort here in Nigeria by providing 859,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines,” said the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria,
Kazuyoshi added that “In addition to providing vaccines, Japan is donating 175 Solar Direct Drive Refrigerators, to ensure stable delivery of vaccines to vaccination sites, with the necessary temperature controls. These efforts are key to ensure that vaccines get to the people who need them
“These vaccines will help save lives, protect livelihoods, and heal economies currently affected by the pandemic. In our interdependent world, Japan and Nigeria are united, beyond borders. We must work together to ensure we are all protected”
WHO Country Representative, Dr Walter Kazadi said this donation by Japan shows how the world is working together in unison to defeat the virus
He said “The donation of the COVID-19 vaccines to Nigeria, which began one year ago through the COVAX Facility, has proved to be beneficial as we have witnessed an increase in number of people protected from the severity of the virus. This is yet another example of how the world is working together to defeat COVID-19”
Thabani Maphosa, Managing Director of Country Programmes at GAVI said “Nigeria was amongst the first countries to receive COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX, and just recently launched the SCALES 2.0 strategy to rapidly accelerate vaccine coverage
The statement further read that “It is a welcome development that as we mark the one-year anniversary, COVAX, with support from donors, is able to supply Nigeria with the doses it needs to achieve its newly-set vaccination targets.”
“This donation will enable Nigeria to continue its strong COVID-19 vaccination programme, sustaining the exercise ongoing throughout the country. Vaccines are not the only weapon in our arsenal. Regular testing and observing the tried-and-true public health measures can keep infections from rising within communities.”
COVAX, which is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the World Health Organization (WHO) working in partnership with UNICEF, is collaborating with countries, including Nigeria to scale up COVID-19 vaccination efforts and achieve greater levels of coverage. To date COVAX has shipped over 445 million doses to Africa, out of a total 1.2 billion vaccines shipped to 144 countries across the globe,