By Joseph Erunke, ABUJA
NIGERIA has taken delivery of a total of 177,600 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines aimed at tackling COVID-19 spread in the country.
The vaccines which arrived in the country, Wednesday, was inspected on Thursday, by the Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib with some health partners at the National Strategic Cold Store, in Abuja
Speaking following the development, Dr Faisal Shuaib, reassured that the single-shot vaccines from the African Union, under the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust, AVAT, was safe for use like all the COVID-19 vaccines approved by the World Health Organisation, WHO.
“Nigeria took delivery of 177,600 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines, being part of the 29,850,000 doses that the Federal Government of Nigeria procured through the AVAT of the AU Commission through the facility provided by African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK),” he said.
He said Nigeria was among the first ten African countries to receive the vaccines shipment through partnership.
He explained that the second batch of the vaccine would soon be delivered.
“This batch of J&J vaccine will be focused on those who are in the hard-to-reach areas (riverine areas, desert areas and security-compromised areas the elderly and frail individuals across the country.
“This is because the J&J vaccine is administered as a single dose vaccine unlike the AstraZeneca and Moderna that require two doses for complete vaccination,” he said.
“Today, we received 177,600 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines, being part of the 29,850,000 doses that the Federal Government of Nigeria procured from the AFREXIM Bank through the African Union. The balance of the vaccine will be delivered over the coming months.
“We have the capacity to store and distribute this vaccine all the way to the point of administration as we have walk-in freezers in all 36 States plus FCT. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is stored at temperatures of +20C to +80C which is the temperature in which most of our routine immunization vaccines are stored,” he said.
Shuaib reiterated that: “Because it is a one-dose effective vaccine, these doses will be focused on those who are in the hard-to-reach areas (riverine areas, desert areas and security-compromised areas) and the elderly”, adding that,” This is because they are people who may find it difficult to leave their homes to the health facility for second dose vaccination..”
He spoke further: “As a result of the leadership provided by the Presidential Steering Committee and the Federal Ministry of Health, NPHCDA in collaboration with our partners have mapped out the best strategies in targeting different segments of our populations because of the differences in vulnerability, age and geographical constraints.
” Let me emphasize that the Nigerian government is committed to safe, equitable and effective COVID-19 vaccination of all eligible persons in the country. The availability of different vaccine brands does not in any way mean that some categories of people are selected for high-quality vaccines while others are targeted for low-quality vaccines. All COVID-19 vaccines approved by the World Health Organization are safe and can deliver adequate protection against the disease. It is just the same way as you have Paracetamol manufactured by different pharmaceutical companies, but all deliver pain relief.
“We will continue to count on you for dissemination of true and accurate information to keep Nigerians informed and educated about COVID-19 vaccination. We also hope that those who are misinforming people would begin to understand the need for Nigeria and the rest of the world to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and recover from the adversities it has imposed on our economies and social lives.”
Mr Abdoulaye Kone, The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Regional Chief Operating Officer, speaking at the inspection ground, described the vaccine acquisition by AVAT as a great achievement by Africa.
Also, the World Health Organization, WHO, county Representative, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, hailed Nigeria’s readiness to battle the disease through the acquisition of the vaccines.