Nigeria will acquire the first tranche of COVID-19 vaccines today, Tuesday, 2 March 2021, according to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha.
Mustapha, who is also chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, made public this past Saturday in Abuja while reviewing the country’s battle against the disease.
“They (vaccines) are due to leave India on March 1, 2021, in the night and arrive in Abuja on March 2, 2021,” he said.
NAN estimates that Nigeria is due to receive the first four million COVID-19 vaccine shipments from COVAX, a multinational scheme set up for the free production and delivery of vaccines as a global race to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
COVAX, which was set up in April 2020 to help ensure a fairer allocation of coronavirus vaccines between rich and developing countries, said it would distribute two billion doses to the Member States by the end of 2021.
Nigeria’s four million vaccines will be the first COVID-19 vaccine from the COVAX factory.
The facility pledged access to vaccines for up to 20% of the population of participating nations, with initial stocks starting in the first quarter of 2021 to inoculate 3% of their populations.
The Nigerian government had recently announced that the first four million doses of vaccines would arrive in the country by the end of February.
The SGF declared that the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) will arrange a shipment from Mumbai, India, to the World Health Organisation (WHO), both sponsors of COVAX.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the PTF thanked Nigeria’s health staff and the numerous frontline workers for their hard work in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Mustapha, when reviewing the county’s response to COVID-19 in the past year, said that the PTF had done “very well” with a very robust national response.
“We have managed to discharge our mandate to handle the pandemic with a well-defined mechanism and a comprehensive national response,” he said.
The SGF reported that the techniques developed by its Pandemic Management Committee have been repeated in several other countries, in particular the obligatory Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing for travelers.
He clarified that the pandemic helped the nation improve its health system, noting a rise in the number of infectious disease research labs from four to 132 throughout the country.
NAN remembers that Nigeria’s health minister, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, admitted on Wednesday that the country would have to wait until March to obtain the first dose of vaccine.
Ghana collected 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Wednesday, making it the first nation on the continent to benefit from the COVAX program.
Cote d’Ivoire, a nation with more than 32,000 cases of COVID-19 and 188 deaths, has received more than 500,000 doses of the Oxford-Astrazeneca COVID-19 vaccine on Friday.
It is exactly one year ago, Feb. 27, 2020, that Nigeria detected the first case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the first confirmed case in sub-Saharan Africa.
With more than 150,000 cases reported since then, the NCDC said Nigeria’s response has been science-led and driven by the power of cooperation, partnership, and unity between federal and state governments, stakeholders, the private sector, and residents.