The Japanese government on Wednesday donated 859,600 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to Nigeria.
The donation was made through the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Assess Facility, COVAX.
Speaking at the handover ceremony in Abuja, the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, said the Japanese government also donated 175 Solar Direct Drive (SDD) refrigerators to aid COVID-19 response in the country.
Mr Shuaib said today also marks the one-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 vaccine delivered to Nigeria.
“I am pleased to inform you that the Government of Japan through the COVAX facility has donated 859,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine and 175 Solar Direct drive Refrigerators to aid COVID-19 response in Nigeria,” he said.
Mr Shuaib said the vaccines bolster the global effort to defeat the coronavirus pandemic and demonstrate the ongoing commitment of the global community to ensuring Nigeria receives the vaccines it needs.
He said the SDD refrigerators will be useful because of their advantages in independent and uninterrupted power source for vaccine storage.
“We have since deployed the SDDs to 24 states of the federation based on vaccine coverage, equity and making sure we reach the last mile,” he said.
One year after
Mr Shuaib said today marks one year Nigeria received its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX.
He said the country has so far received 67,973,250 doses of COVID-19 vaccines including 2,100,000 doses out of the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) vaccines procured by the government.
He said about 96.9 per cent of the vaccines received were through the COVAX facility.
“While more than 47 million doses are in the pipeline from now to the end of the year.
“The vaccines include AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer and J&J donated by GAVI and different countries including United States, United Kingdom, Slovenia, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Spain, Italy, France, Norway, Canada, Germany Ireland, Switzerland, India, and Japan,” he said.
Nigeria had on March 2,2021 received its first shipment of 3.94 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine through the COVAX facility.
As of today, Nigeria has successfully vaccinated 17,914,944 eligible persons with the first dose, representing 16 per cent of the eligible population targeted for vaccination in the country.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Matsunaga Kazuyoshi, said the donations were made as part of its commitment to ensure vaccine equity around the world.
Mr Kazuyoshi said the Japanese government is honored to be a part of this global vaccination effort in Nigeria by providing 859,600 doses of vaccines.
He noted that the SDD refrigerators will ensure stable delivery of vaccines to vaccination sites, with the necessary temperature controls.
He said these efforts are key to ensure vaccines get to the people who need them.
“These vaccines will help save lives, protect livelihoods, and heal economies currently affected by the pandemic. In our interdependent world, Japan and Nigeria are united, beyond borders so we must work together to ensure we are all protected,” he said.
In his remarks, WHO country representative, Walter Mulombo, said the donation of the COVID-19 vaccines to Nigeria, which began one year ago, has proven to be beneficial.
Mr Mulombo said the country has witnessed an increase in the number of people protected from the severity of the deadly virus.
“This is yet another example of how the world is working together to defeat COVID-19,” he said.
WATCH: Governor Yahaya Bello's Roadmap to Hope 2023