Through an initiative launched in June and tagged, “Saving Lives and Livelihoods,” the Mastercard Foundation, a Canadian foundation, in partnership with Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), on Monday, delivered a total of 3,326,400 doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccines against COVID-19.
The vaccines, which arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, on Monday, afternoon, were delivered to a representative of the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).
UNICEF is expected to in turn hand over the doses to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Nigeria’s agency in charge of vaccination, for cold storage and distribution to vaccination centres across the country.
A statement jointly issued by both the foundation and Africa CDC noted that the delivery is part of the more than 65 million doses of vaccines the initiative targets to purchase and deliver to Africa.
The statement was signed by Nonye Omotola on behalf of Mastercard Foundation while Benjamin Djoudalbaye signed for Africa CDC.
According to the statement, Saving Lives and Livelihoods is a $1.5 billion partnership “that aims to enable vaccination for millions of people, develop a workforce for vaccine manufacturing, and strengthen the Africa CDC’s capacity to oversee a historic vaccination campaign and effectively respond to future outbreaks.”
Speaking on the intervention, the chief executive officer and president of Mastercard Foundation, Reeta Roy, said: “Timely delivery of these vaccines underscores the effectiveness of the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust. Working with the Africa CDC and multiple organisations, the Mastercard Foundation will support the rollout of vaccinations to millions across the continent. More remains to be done to increase vaccination rates urgently. We call on governments, funders, civil society, and others to step forward to save lives and livelihoods in Africa.”
Similarly, the director of Africa CDC, John Nkengasong, is quoted to have commended the initiative, and pledged the organisation’s commitment to sustaining the required mass vaccination campaign in Africa.
He said: “We are steadily picking up momentum in the continental vaccination effort. In September, the first tranche of AVAT-purchased vaccines began rolling out to 39 countries. Now we are announcing the delivery of vaccines purchased through the Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative. And we are working hard on the ground to get jabs-in-arms, which is the ultimate measure of success.”
According to the statement, the Foundation noted that the new deliveries are in line with the agreement earlier reached by the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) to purchase 400 million Johnson and Johnson vaccines “and a more recent contract for the purchase of 50 million Moderna vaccines.”
The Mastercard Foundation has, therefore, promised to fund the purchase of 57 million doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccines, and that it is seeking to purchase approximately 17 million doses of Moderna vaccines.
Vaccination campaign in Nigeria
Nigeria had on Monday announced the commencement of the office-to-office vaccination for government workers at the federal government level.
The executive director of NPHCDA, Faisal Shuaib, who said this at a briefing by the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, on Monday, in Abuja, said it was aimed at enhancing access to vaccines among workers and the general populace.
Mr Shuaib said as of Monday, over six million eligible persons have received the first shot of the COVID-19 vaccines in Nigerians.
He also said over 3.5 million persons have received their second shots, making them fully vaccinated.
“As of Monday the 29th of November 2021, 6,504,043 eligible persons have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria.
“3,586,812 persons have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19,” he said.
He also said none of the vaccinated persons have died as a result of taking the COVID-19 vaccine.
Mr Shuaib also said over 30million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines are on ground with the country expecting another 60million doses before the first quarter of 2022.
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