…Vaccinates 718,412 persons with 1st dose of AstraZeneca shot
By Sola Ogundipe, Chioma Obinna & Gabriel Olawale
In the wake of the suspension of the exports of the AstraZeneka vaccine doses by India, Nigeria expects to receive up to 70 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine this year through the African Union, the Nigeria Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NPHCDA, has disclosed.
The Executive Director of the agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, told Reuters in an interview in Abuja that Nigeria expects to initially receive 30 million doses of the J&J shot in July through the AU.
He said although the deal is yet to be finalised, the country was having talks with the AU over the development.
Africa’s COVID-19 vaccination programme was boosted on Monday with the announcement by pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson, that it will supply up to 400 million doses of its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine to the African Union.
The supplies are meant to help Africa reach its target of vaccinating at least 60 per cent of the population, to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
“We’re hoping that we’ll be able to get up to 70 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson this year. This is yet to be finalised but these are some of the advanced conversations that are going on between Nigeria and the African Union,” Shuaib said.
“Some of the allocations that we were supposed to get for the AstraZeneca will be replaced by the Johnson and Johnson,” he said, adding that this was yet to be finalised.”
Shuaib said there was no evidence of adverse side effects in Nigeria and the AstraZeneca vaccine would continue to be used for eligible people aged 18 and above.
The African Vaccine Acquisition Trust Team, AVATT, has signed an agreement with Johnson & Johnson for the delivery of the vaccine doses.
The agreement entails that 55 member states of the AU will take delivery, from the beginning of the third quarter of 2021, up to 200 million doses of the vaccine.
Additional 180 million doses will be made available in 2022, making it a combined total of up to 400 million doses of the vaccine.
Already, the Federal Government has proposed to spend N396 billion for the COVID-19 vaccination in 2021 and 2022.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed who disclosed this on Wednesday after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting, explained that the figure may significantly reduce as the Federal Government receives more donations of the vaccines from the private sector.
She adds that the Ministry of Health is working on details of the gap that the Federal Government will be required to fill in the vaccination exercise.
In a response, Shuaib said he expected a supplementary budget on the vaccination exercise to be presented to lawmakers within the next two weeks.
The Federal Government is planning to inoculate 40 percent of the population in 2021 and another 30 percent in 2022.