Nigeria showed a lack of urgency in its fight against Covid-19 when it received the much-awaited 3.94 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine Tuesday.
The country invested time and money to plan a befitting reception ceremony for the vaccine arrival. The Nigerian Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) will only be allowed to analyze the vaccines from tomorrow before vaccinations will commence.
The executive director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib organised the reception ceremony.
Among dignitaries in attendance were the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire and the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu.
Faisal said at the end of the vaccine arrival ceremonies that a few vials of the vaccines would be handed over to NAFDAC to analyse over a period of two days. “Wednesday March 3rd and Thursday, March 4th.”
The nearly four million doses shipped from Mumbai, India and arrived Abuja around 11.30 am Tuesday.
However, the vaccine was recently approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for emergency use. NAFDAC said in an earlier press briefing that it got the dossier of the vaccine earlier in February and its safety committee went to work immediately to evaluate its safety and efficacy for Nigerians.
The AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, also known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, or AZD1222, is a viral vector vaccine. Scientists reportedly used an adenovirus, originally derived from chimpanzees, and modified it with the aim of training the immune system to mount a strong response against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).
It is only the second COVID-19 jab to have received WHO authorization, after the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, the vaccines shipped via the COVAX Facility. COVAX is co-led by WHO and Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI). It was launched in 2020 to mobilize resources for innovative and equitable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines.
COVAX is co-led by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI). It was launched in 2020 to mobilise resources for innovative and equitable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments and vaccines.
According to a statement from the United Nations in Nigeria, the arrival marked a historic step towards the goal to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines globally.
UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, said the arrival of the vaccines in Abuja “marks a milestone for the COVAX Facility in its unprecedented effort to deliver at least two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines globally by the end of 2021.”
Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, WHO Representative in Nigeria, said “these vaccines have undergone rigorous regulatory processes at global and country level and have been deemed safe and effective.”
He expressed happiness that Nigeria participated in the global vaccine collaboration (COVAX) efforts.
Akatarian gathered that Ghana became the first African country to receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
By February 22, Ghana had recorded a total of 80,253 infections, with 577 deaths and 73,018 recoveries. And Nigeria recorded 152,074 infections, 1,839 deaths, and 128,619 recoveries in the same period, according to the Africa Centre for Disease Control.