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Nigeria Receives First Shipment Of Johnson & Johnson vaccines From AU

Nigeria on Thursday took delivery of the first shipment of 177,600 Johnson and Johnson vaccine doses from African Union (AU) under the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVA).

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) in Abuja inspected the vaccine.

NPHCDA Executive Director Dr. Faisal Shuaib said Nigeria was among the first 10 African countries to receive vaccines through the cooperation to received the vaccines at the National Strategic Cold Store in Abuja.

Also, Nigeria is one of the first countries to benefit from a supply agreement signed in March 2021 to acquire 220 million doses for the continent, with the option to order an additional 180 million.

Shuaib , ”the 177, 600 doses would step up efforts to battle a third wave of infections across the country, noting that the single-shot Covid-19 vaccine, was the first of its monthly supplies under an arrangement with AU nations.”

“Nigeria took delivery of 177,600 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines, being part of the 29,850,000 doses that the Federal Government of Nigeria 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 Johnson and Johnson vaccines will be focused on those who are in the hard-to-reach areas (riverine areas, desert areas and security-compromised areas), the elderly and frail individuals. 

“This is because the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is administered as a single dose vaccine unlike the AstraZeneca and Moderna that require two doses for complete vaccination,”  Dr Shuaib said.

Milestone for Africa
The Regional Chief Operating officer, African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Mr Abdoulaye Kone , said that  the vaccine acquisition by AVAT was a unique milestone for the African continent.

He further stated that, ”the delivery marks the first time that the AU Member States have collectively purchased vaccines to safeguard the health of the African population.”

Mr Kone disclosed that the first monthly shipment of vaccines acquired by AVAT commenced on Aug. 5, to several Member States,and the  shipments would continue for a total of 6.4m doses shipped in August.

The World Health Organization (WHO), Country Representative, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, commended the first phase of the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out in Nigeria with the vaccination of the front-line workers and other priority groups who were at high risk of Covid-19.

He added that Nigeria’s preparation for the second phase of the Covid-19 vaccination, involving more resources and logistics, was highly commendable.

Molumbo commended the  multi-sectoral approach embraced by Nigeria towards making vaccines available.

According to him ; “If any. As I always mentioned at different fora, vaccines are a critical tool in the battle against COVID-19. These vaccines are safe and effective and will be the game- changer: but for the foreseeable future, we must continue wearing masks, physically distance and avoid crowds. 

“The J&J vaccine we have today, was listed for emergency use by WHO on the March 12, 2021.  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.

“Let me seize this opportunity to say that this pandemic still has a long way to run: Nigeria is experiencing a 3rd wave and we need to work together to ensure that all preventive measures put in place are maximized to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on our lives,” he advised.

Also, the Africa Center for Disease Control(CDC), Representative, Dr Amadou Cheick Tidiane CISSÉ, said it was a sign of hope that the continent would finally be able to close the vaccination gap other parts of the world.

Tidiane CISSÉ, hinted that these vaccines would help to save African lives and livelihoods and to resume their ways towards the continental development agenda.

He further stated that , since the beginning of this pandemic, which continues to devastate lives and livelihoods in Africa and globally, it has been clear that safe and efficacious vaccines are our only way out.

Similarly , the Representative of UNICEF in Nigeria, Dr Peter Hawkins, said that ”Covid-19 vaccines were the most important tool the world have against Covid-19.”

Hawkins urged Nigerians that vaccination was also providing better protection than natural immunity for adults previously infected with Covid-19, from getting re-infection.

He noted that the country is expected to received another shipment of Oxford AstraZeneca Vaccine doses by next week.

AVAT was established by the African Covid-19 Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, set up in November 2020 under the African Union chairmanship of President Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa.

It is part of the African Union’s Covid-19 Vaccine Development and Access Strategy, and its goal of vaccinating at least 60 per cent of the African population with safe and efficacious vaccines against COVID-19.

The agreement with Johnson & Johnson was made possible through a USD 2 billion facility provided by Afreximbank, who are also the Financial and Transaction Advisers, Guaranion for Africa (UNECA) who coordinated the alignment of the AU Ministers of Finance on the financing arrators, Instalment Payment Advisers and Payment Agents, and the support of the United Nations Economic Commissions.

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