By Hassan Zaggi
Following the challenges faced by the global community regarding COVID-19 supply, Nigeria is not certain when it will get the next shipment of the vaccine.
The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, stated this at a media briefing in Abuja, Tuesday.
He, however, disclosed that COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered to 1,929,237 Nigerians, representing 96% of the targeted population.
“In addition, we have begun providing second doses, and that number has reached 4,683. Those individuals currently eligible for second doses will have received their first dose 6 to 12 weeks ago.”
Shuaib reiterated that: “As most people here know by now, the global community is facing great challenges regarding vaccine supply.
“Like most nations, this impacts the clarity over Nigeria’s next shipment. While we have information that we may get the next consignment of vaccines by end of July or August, these have not been officially confirmed.
“When we are able to, we will provide an update regarding timelines and details of the next shipment. At present, we do not have that information available due to the wider context we are in.”
He, however, disclosed that “Pfizer and BioNTech pledged on Friday of last week to provide 1 billion doses of their COVID-19 vaccine to low-and-middle income countries by the end of 2021, and another 1 billion doses in 2022. Johnson & Johnson also announced it has signed a deal to provide 200 million doses of its vaccine to Covax.
“Separately, the International Monetary Fund is now advocating for a $50 billion fund to be spent on ensuring a faster rollout of COVID-19 vaccines globally and is calling for at least 40% of the global population to be vaccinated by the end of this year, and at least 60% by June 2022.
“The fund would be used to increase COVAX vaccine coverage, procure additional tests, and expand vaccine production capacity.
“We strongly endorse the creation of such a fund, and emphasize that all nations must have comparable access to COVID-19 vaccines in order to end this pandemic.
“Additionally, the United States announced it will donate 20 million vaccine doses by the end of June to the COVAX scheme.”
He said that the Federal Government has taken proactive steps to protect Nigerians against B.1.617.2, known as the Indian variant.
“Flights from India and other high-risk countries such as Turkey and Brazil have been barred from entering Nigeria, we are ramping up our test and trace measures, and we are accelerating the national project to establish production of oxygen supplies across all states of Nigeria.
“I want to seize the opportunity to enjoin Nigerians to continue to observe the Public Health or non-pharmaceutical measures in place to curb the transmission of Covid-19, as we are not out of the woods yet,” he said.