Jakarta: Nigeria has received nearly 4 million doses of the covid-19 vaccine, shipped via the COVAX Facility, a partnership between CEPI, Gavi, UNICEF and WHO.
The arrival marked a historic step towards the goal to ensure equitable distribution of covid-19 vaccines globally, in what will be the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history.
The delivery is part of a first wave of arrivals in Nigeria that will continue in the coming days and weeks.
On Tuesday, COVAX shipped 3.94 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), from Mumbai to Abuja.
"The UN Country Team in Nigeria reiterates its commitment to support the vaccination campaign in Nigeria and help contain the spread of the virus," said Edward Kallon, UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, in a press release on Tuesday.
"The arrival of these vaccines in Abuja today marks a milestone for the COVAX Facility in its unprecedented effort to deliver at least 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines globally by the end of 2021," he stated.
The arrival of the covid-19 vaccine will enable the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to commence the vaccination of Nigerians in priority groups, starting with frontline healthcare workers.
The COVAX Facility is expected to deliver around 90 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the African Region in the first quarter of 2021 and has committed to providing up to 600 million doses to the region by end-2021 to cover 20 per cent of the population.
"After a year of disruptions due to the covid-19 pandemic, today we celebrate the efforts being made in getting the vaccine to Nigeria. With more than 150,000 Nigerians infected with the virus and over 1,800 lives lost, the path to recovery for the people of Nigeria can finally begin," said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Nigeria Country Representative.
"This is a very significant occasion - the arrival of the covid-19 vaccines into Nigeria is critical in curbing the pandemic. The only way out of this crisis is to ensure that vaccinations are available to all," he stated.