FG Receives Two Million Doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine
The Federal government received a capacity of 200 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine on the 7th of February this year from the European Union team, a project under the COVAX facility of the United Nations.
The official handing over was done at the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) national strategic cold store, Abuja. This act of assistance is by the European Union team was borne out of the need for the region to help countries speed up vaccinations and promote the capacity of these countries to manufacture their vaccines locally, a significant hinge in the global goal of curbing or eliminating the pandemic’s power.
Leader of the team and ambassador European Union to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Samuela Isopi, mentioned while presenting the vaccines that this action of the donation was out of the die-hard commitment Europe has for the combating of COVID-19 virus across the globe, this indeed points out the ever-important notion of having the country’s population vaccinated to bring to a minimal the spread of the SARS-CoV-19 virus.
Dr Faisal Shuaib, the Executive director of NPHCDA, stated that the Federal Government is as well putting in every effort towards fighting the pandemic; this commitment is made visible from when the Federal government made procurement of 39 million doses of the J&J vaccines through the Africa export-import (AFREXIM) bank, stating that only about 12 million doses of the single-shot vaccine are in the cold store. In August 2021, the Federal government took delivery of 177,600 Johnson & Johnson vaccines in the city of Abuja, which marked the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines obtained through the African Union. The director further indicated that with the inclusion of the 1,936,050 doses by the EU, the total doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine available in Nigeria amounts to about 51 million doses.
The donation was noted to be coming when the government has planned to begin a new phase of mass vaccination to fight the pandemic to control it. Shuaib said the institution would be focusing on reaching out to people in difficult locations or territories such as deserts and security-compromised places, riverine areas because the vaccine requires a single dose; he further observed that the health workers would be able to operate on a “touch and go” without compromising their health safety.
Samuela Isopi mentioned that team Europe has mobilized a sum of €38.5 billion, of which €8 billion is for the African continent. He noted that the approach by Team Europe is about the European Union and member states joining forces and pooling together resources to support partner countries in the fight against the pandemic, with consideration for the promotion safety of first in the planet. Samuel stated: “The EU is the largest contributor to the United Nations Basket Fund and will continue to support Nigeria in the weeks and months ahead. Today is a momentous day. But we know that much work remains ahead of us. The pandemic is not yet defeated. We must continue to work together, help partner countries to speed up vaccinations and to develop the capacity to manufacture vaccines locally.”
Dr. Shuaib mentioned that the Federal Government was entirely committed to a safe, equitable, and effective COVID-19 vaccination program for its populace, with no special preferential treatment to a class or group of people.
“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 Organisation 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.
The NPHCDA boss stated that the country had vaccinated 15,792,392 (14.1%) of her populace with the first dose and hoped to see a rise in the vaccinated number of persons in the country as massive efforts are being made to ensure the possibility of the objective to help keep the virus out of the planet jointly.
“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.
“Last week, we were in Enugu State where we engaged all the stakeholders in the five southeast states with our attention now focused on the states.
“We hope to see a more rapid vaccine coverage over the next couple of weeks,” he said.
“On behalf of the Federal Government, I want to sincerely appreciate the European Union for your continued partnership in development. We have no doubt about the commitment of the EU 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.”