Nigeria will get 4 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine next week in the first tranche of Covax facility consignment to the country, a special assistant to the president said Thursday.
The doses are part of 16 million shots allocated to Nigeria by the global facility, Tolu Ogunlesi, the special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on digital and new media, said in a tweet.
A supplementary budget is also being prepared to finance additional vaccine purchases, he said, adding that Lagos, which is the pandemic epicentre in Nigeria is expected to get the largest share of the vaccines, followed by FCT.
Covid Vaccines #Nigeria:
– First Batch of 4 million (Astra Zeneca) arriving by next week (out of 16m allocated to Nigeria by COVAX Facility).
– Supplementary Budget being prepared, to finance additional Vaccine purchases.
— tolu ogunlesi (@toluogunlesi) February 25, 2021
The World Health Organisation-led Covax purchases vaccines with the help of wealthier countries and distributes them equitably to all countries – U.S. President Joe Biden last week pledged $4 billion to the program.
The project was set up in cooperation with Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, an organization founded by Bill and Melinda Gates to vaccinate children in the world’s least-developed countries.
In Africa, Ghana was the first country to receive a shipment of coronavirus vaccines – 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University jab – through the global vaccine-sharing program.
Nigeria is one of the African nations most affected by the pandemic, with a total of over 154,000 cases and nearly 2,000 deaths. Africa’s most populous economy of about 200 million people wants to vaccinate as much as 40% of its population against the coronavirus this year, a government official said in January.
Like most countries, Nigeria is prioritising those most vulnerable to the coronavirus. First in line to receive the jabs are frontline healthcare workers and first responders, before strategic country leadership, the elderly, and those with comorbidities or other diseases besides Covid-19, executive secretary of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHDA) Faisal Shuaib said. Though the target set for the vaccination campaign this year is seen as unfeasible by analysts.