The Federal Government has taken delivery of the first shipment of 177,600 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine to check the spread of COVID-19 in the country. Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, who on Thursday in Abuja inspected the items, which arrived in the country on Wednesday, said Nigeria was among the first 10 African countries to receive the vaccine through the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) partnership. According to him, the vaccine will assist in the battle against a third wave of the pandemic in Nigeria, as it is said to be highly effective against the Delta and Beta variants of coronavirus. He said: “Nigeria took delivery of 177,600 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, being part of the 29,850,000 doses that the Federal Government procured through the AVAT of the AU Commission through the facility provided by African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).
“The balance of the vaccine will subsequently be delivered in monthly tranches. This batch of J&J vaccine will be focused on those who are in the hard-toreach areas (riverine areas, desert areas and security-compromised areas, the elderly and frail individuals) across the country. This is because the J&J vaccine is administered as a single dose vaccine unlike the AstraZeneca and Moderna that require two doses for complete vaccination.” Regional Chief Operating officer, Afreximbank, Mr Abdoulaye Kone, who said the vaccine acquisition by the AVAT was a unique milestone for the Africa, added that it marked the first time African Union member states would collectively purchase vaccine to safeguard the health of the African population. The World Health Organization (WHO), County Representative, Dr Walter Mulombo, commended Nigeria’s preparation for the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination, which according to him, involves more resources and logistics. He said: “The vaccine has been authorized for use in Europe, the United States and other countries. “As the only single dose COVID-19 vaccine approved for use to date, the vaccine may be an important tool for accessing hard-to-reach populations, thus playing a key role in preventing infections and reducing deaths across Nigeria.”
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