The United Kingdom (UK) Government on Tuesday donated 699,760 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the Federal Government.
Dr Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) during the Inspection of the vaccines at the National strategic store in Abuja expressed gratitude to the government and people of the United Kingdom for this gesture.
He stated that the additional AstraZeneca vaccine would be deployed immediately to the States to be administered as a second dose to those who had earlier received only the first dose of the vaccine during the first phase of the vaccination rollout.
He also directed all those who have received AstraZeneca as first dose to visit the nearest vaccination site to receive the second dose in other to have full protection against Covid-19.
Shuaib hinted that by the end of this month, the agency is expecting another additional 801,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX Facility, donated By the Canadian Government.
He noted that , the AstraZeneca is a vaccine that we are all familiar with while our health workers are experienced in its administration and management with its storage requirement same as most of our routine vaccines at temperatures of +20C +8oC.
The NPHCDA Executive Director assured all Nigerians, that all vaccines certified by NAFDAC are highly effective against the COVID-19 virus, including the Delta variant.
He harped on the fact that World Health Organization (WHO) does not approve the mixing of different brands of COVID-19 vaccines, which means that the same vaccine must be taken for both first and second dose.
More so, the Acting British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Gill Atkinson, who presented the vaccines to the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, said that the vaccines were donated for the wellbeing of Nigerians.
She added the UK was one of the first countries to back COVAX with €548 million and have consistently pushed for a global effort that help every country receive the vaccine against COVID-19.
Atkinson also expressed happiness to see Nigeria receive 699,760 doses, donated by the UK, in their second batch of the vaccine through COVAX, which is the first trench of the 1,299,760 doses expected to be donated by the UK through COVAX.
She said only by vaccinating more people around the world can bring an end to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
She also said that the UK has donated approximately five million doses to COVAX to be sent to African countries and three million of those doses are sent to Africa.
She added that donating through COVAX helps to increase vaccine coverage, ensure that no dose goes to waste and helps to bring to an end the acute phase of the pandemic.
Meanwhile , the country representative of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Walter Mulombo, who witnessed the receipt of the vaccine commended the UK government for the donation.
Mulombo noted that WHO is happy that the COVID-19 vaccine portfolio in Nigeria is growing and opening prospects to cover the eligible population towards achieving health immunity.
He said the contribution today of over six hundred and minty nine thousand AstraZeneca vaccines by the UK government is really a big relief for them knowing that there are Nigerians who got the first and were waiting for the second shot.
Dr Mulombo appealed to Nigerians to willingly receive the vaccine as it is certified safe.