The Federal Government late Saturday night confirmed that the expected four million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines will arrive the country on Tuesday morning.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, said this in a voice and video message made available to journalists.
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The government had earlier said that the first four million doses of the vaccines will arrive the country by the end of February and later said it may be first week in March.
“I can assure you that the vaccines are coming and they are coming very quickly barring any change in the delivery plan that has been released to us by UNICEF.
“We believe that our vaccines should depart India on the 1st of March, 2021 at 10:30pm and arrive Abuja on 2nd of March 2021 by 11:10 am. And we are making preparations for that,” Mustapha said.
Nigeria is expecting 16 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines through the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Assess Facility (COVAX), a World Health Organization (WHO)-backed programme set-up to divide about two billion doses of vaccines across 92 low-and middle-income countries.
The SGF added, “We are supposed to have 16 million in the first quarter from the COVAX facility, and expecting that by the time they supply all the range, we are expecting that they would supply about 84 million doses of the COVAX facility, which is free of charge and is supposed to cover at least 20 percent of the Nigerian population.”
He added that in addition, the federal government has another source from the Harvard facility which is the African Vaccine Action team, a combination of Oxford AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson vaccines.
The SGF said 41 million doses is expected from the second source, and assured that AstraZeneca has a good range in terms of storage which does not come with any complications because it can be stored in +2 to +8 Degree Celsius and in cold chain facilities that are available in all local governments and wards in the country.
He however cautioned Nigerians that it is going to be a combination of pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical measures, like wearing of face masks, keeping social distancing and taking responsibilities.
The facility promised access to vaccines for up to 20 per cent of participating countries’ population with an initial supply beginning in the first quarter of the year to immunise three percent of their populations.
Also, Mustapha commended the nation’s health workers and the various frontline workers for their working hard to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, on Wednesday admitted that the country may have to wait till March to receive its first doses of the vaccines.
Ghana on Wednesday received 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines, making it the first country to benefit from the COVAX programme.
Also, Ivory Coast, a country with over 32,000 COVID-19 cases and 188 deaths, received over 500,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on Friday.