European Union flags fly outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, April 10, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman

As Nigeria gets 2m doses of J&J vaccines

*Current Johnson & Johnson vaccines available to Nigeria is about 51m doses-FG

By Joseph Erunke

ABUJA- THE European Union, EU has mobilised over N3 billion for vaccination in Africa as the world expedite efforts aimed at controlling the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The revelation came as Nigeria, Monday, took delivery of additional 2 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines from the organisation to boost its fight against the dreaded disease.

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The vaccines were received at the NPHCDA’s Strategic Cold Store, in Abuja.

The 2 million doses, said to be donated by Finland, Greece and Slovenia, are part of a global donation of almost 20 million J&J doses from EU member states to Nigeria, via COVAX.

EU Ambassador,Samuela Isopi, who disclosed this at the official handover of the 2 million doses of the vaccines to the government, through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, said the organisation had mobilised €8 million (₦3,816,565,274.15 (NGN) for Africa in its fight against the disease.

The amount, according to Amb. Isopi, was part of the EUR 38.5 billion donated to the world to fight the scourge.

“Today’s donation brings us collectively closer to reaching the milestone of 500 million doses delivered by COVAX, with 300 million donated by Team Europe, an achievement which is worth celebrating today.

“The European Union is so far the biggest donor of COVID-19 vaccines in the world. To date, Team Europe has mobilised at least EUR 38.5 billion, of which €8 billion for the African continent.

“The EU is now stepping up its effort to support Africa, where vaccination is lower than in other parts of the world.

“This will be at the centre of the discussions among Africa and Europe’s leaders at the upcoming EU-AU Summit next week in Brussels.

“Today’s donation signifies the continuation of the commitment of the European Union and its member states to support Nigeria’s fight against Covid-19,”Amb. Isopi said.

Johnson & Johnson vaccine available to Nigeria is about 51m doses- FG

Speaking at the occasion, the Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, disclosed that at the moment, Nigeria has about 51 million doses of J&J vaccines.

He recalled that “the Federal Government of Nigeria had earlier in 2021 procured 39,850,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine from the AFREXIM Bank through the African Union.”

“With today’s donation of 1,936,050 doses by the European Union, the total number of doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine available to Nigeria is about 51m doses,” Dr Shuaib said.

“At the moment, Nigeria currently has in-country 12,916,450 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccines,” he added.

Shuaib, on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, appreciated the European Union for its continued partnership and gestures to the country.

“We have no doubt about the commitment of the European Union to the eradication of COVID-19 from Nigeria and the rest of the world. The onus is upon us to make rational and effective use of the vaccines,” he said.

He said the country”will be focusing the J&J vaccines at the moment on those who are in the hard-to-reach areas (riverine areas, desert areas, and security-compromised areas).”

” This is because the Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only a single dose for full vaccination. This way our health workers will be able to do what is called a ‘touch and go’ without comprising their safety,” he explained.

He assured partners that “Nigeria is committed to a safe, equitable, and effective COVID-19 vaccination program.”

“Let me also mention that 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. While the choice of vaccine is left for eligible persons to make, it is important to note that no particular vaccine brand is preferable to the other,” he said.

He disclosed that at the moment, “Nigeria has vaccinated 15,792,392 (14.1%) of her eligible population with the 1st dose.”

” We are using the platform of COVID-19 vaccination to also make available access to other primary healthcare interventions. We have been engaging with the poor performing states to identify areas where they would require more support from us and to also help them in identifying areas where they can improve in order to ramp up their vaccination coverage,” he added.

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