The Federal Government has said that the country will receive 16 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines before the end of February.
The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, said on Monday that this will replace the initial 100,000 doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech approved vaccines earlier expected in the country.
He was speaking at the joint national briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
According to him, the initial 100,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccines expected this month is grossly inadequate for Nigeria’s large population.
“The COVAX facility has informed us that they will be supplying Nigeria with approximately 16m doses of Astrazeneca vaccine this month.
“This will replace the earlier communicated 100,000 doses of Pfizer mRNA vaccine, which was grossly inadequate,” Shuaib said.
He said that government is determined to take all necessary steps to overcome the supply challenges the country is experiencing and ensure an efficient roll out of COVID-19 vaccination in Nigeria.
“In spite of the challenges caused by the delay on the arrival of the vaccines and the difficult task of accessing the COVID-19 vaccines, we are optimistic that the experiences and manpower acquired from eradicating polio and controlling ebola, will help us in the effective implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, when the vaccines become available.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria is involved in discussions including the African Union Commission to access COVID-19 vaccines. The African Union Commission through the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) portfolio has approved approximately 41M doses of a combination of Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines in March/April 2021,” he said.
The NPHCDA boss said that the preventive quality of vaccines has socio-economic value, as treating the disease burden costs a lot higher than vaccinating against the disease.
He said in the meantime, Nigerians should to take responsibility for themselves and their loved ones and adhere to the protocols of infection prevention and control, through wearing of facemasks, hand hygiene and physical distancing.