The Nigerian government on Wednesday received 604,800 doses of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccines from telecom giant, MTN.
Speaking at the handover ceremony in Abuja, the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, said MTN has been a faithful partner in the country’s development.
Represented by the director of disease control and immunisation at NPHCDA, Bassey Okposen, he said the donation of 604,800 doses of vaccines means a potential 604,800 fully vaccinated Nigerians.
“This is to say that MTN is wishing Nigeria the fast lane to COVID-19 recovery,” he said.
Mr Shuaib said the donated vaccines should encourage every eligible Nigerian to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
He said despite vaccine availability, many people are still hesitant to be vaccinated.
“We seem to be having the wrong information or impression that COVID-19 is no longer existing or it is no longer a problem,” he said.
“The fact is that COVID-19 is still here with us in Nigeria and elsewhere in the world, and it is a dangerous disease that can surge anytime as it has mutating properties.”
In her remarks, the General Manager, Regional Operation of MTN, Amina Dambata, said the vaccines were donated based on the agreement reached with African Union to distribute vaccines to the African region.
Ms Dambata said the J&J vaccines will get to those in hard-to-reach areas within the country.
“I’m pleased on behalf of MTN to donate these vaccines today,” she said.
Vaccination so far
Mr Shuaib said Nigeria has successfully vaccinated 47,172,937 persons, representing 42.2 per cent of the eligible population, with the first dose.
He said 34,242,083 persons have been fully vaccinated, representing 30.6 per cent of eligible persons.
He noted that 3,678,412 of the fully vaccinated persons have received their booster shot.
Mr Shuaib appealed to all eligible Nigerians who are yet to be vaccinated to avail themselves of current opportunities to receive their COVID-19 vaccines.
“Over 47 million eligible persons in Nigeria have so far received the vaccines. Although these people constitute less than half of the overall population of eligible persons in the country, they cannot be wrong to have taken the vaccine,” he said.
Mr Shuaib said the agency has since rolled out its SCALES 3.0 strategy for the COVID-19 campaign which provides a unique opportunity for a whole family to seek protection against vaccine-preventable diseases concurrently in one package.
“This means that we are vaccinating eligible persons against COVID-19 and other diseases such as hepatitis, yellow fever, polio, measles, etc. concurrently,” he said.
He urged parents to take advantage of this opportunity to get their eligible children vaccinated against vaccine-preventable childhood diseases.
He said with the continued support of partners and stakeholders at all levels, Nigeria will be able to attain herd immunity against COVID-19 and step up recovery in the coming months.
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