By Audrey Lotechukwu
TUES 02 MARCH, 2021-theGBJournal- Nigeria has taken delivery of 4 million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines, marking the first arrival of the vaccines in the country and making Nigeria the third African country to benefit from the COVAX Facility after Ghana and Cote d’ivoire.
The Emirates Airline air plane carrying the vaccines touched down at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria, just a little after noon Tuesday. The delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccines is part of 16 million doses planned to be delivered to Nigeria by the COVAX Facility, as part of an unprecedented global effort to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
The COVAX Facility is co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), with UNICEF as a key implementing partner.
The arrival of the vaccines will now enable the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to commence the vaccination of Nigerians in priority groups, starting with the frontline healthcare workers.
Dr Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director and Chief Executive of the NPHCDA, in a joint statement by NPHCDA, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF, said the arrival of the vaccine ‘’is the result of the commitment of the Federal Government, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, the support of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the guidance of the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire.
According to the UNICEF Nigeria Country Representative, Pater Hawkins, ‘’the COVAX Facility, has worked exceptionally hard to ensure that Nigeria gets the vaccines as soon as possible so it can start its vaccination programme to the largest population in Africa.’’