Nigeria’s health minister, Osagie Ehanire, said on Monday that the country will receive additional 42 million doses of the approved COVID-19 vaccines in addition to the 16 million initially expected.
Nigeria is expected to receive an initial 16 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines through the Vaccines Global Assess Facility, COVAX, by the end of February.
Mr Ehanire while speaking at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 briefing said the 42 million doses will be delivered to the country through the African Union, African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT).
Mr Ehanire said Nigeria subscribed to two multilateral vaccine access platforms; the first being the COVAX facility which was set-up to divide over a billion doses of vaccines across 92 low-and middle-income countries.
The facility promised access to vaccines for up to 20 per cent of participating countries’ population with an initial supply beginning in the first quarter of the year to immunise three per cent of their populations.
The second platform is the AVATT, which has acquired 300 million doses of three types of vaccines to distribute to African countries based on their population, according to Mr Ehanire.
“Nigeria subscribes to this whole-of-Africa approach, that strives to ensure that we are safe and our neighbours are safe,” he said.
“We shall be offered over 42 million doses by AVATT. If all the projected vaccines are supplied, we estimate we should have covered over 45 per cent of the population.”
Mr Ehanire also noted that Nigeria has had bilateral negotiations with Gamaleya of Russia over their Sputnik V vaccine, which has an efficacy of 91 per cent.
“We are also in talks with the High Commissioner of India over the COVAX vaccine of Barhat Institute. Both vaccines dossiers are under evaluation with NAFDAC,” he said.
At the briefing last week, Mr Ehanire had said the country is experiencing a delay in receiving the first batch of the AstraZeneca vaccines because the manufacturers are yet to decide on when to deploy the vaccines.
He, however, said Nigerians should expect the first roll-out of the vaccines this month.
“The date of first arrival of vaccines in Nigeria has kept changing because the decision lies with the manufacturer, who already has heavy commitments,” he said.
Nigeria has recorded over 130,000 COVID-19 cases and over 1,000 deaths.
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