THE European Union (EU) on Monday handed over two million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine to Nigeria.
The handover ceremony was held in Abuja.
The Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) Shuaib Faisal represented the Presidential Steering Committee chaired by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha and the Minister of Health Osagie Ehanire.
Speaking at the event Faisal said the Federal Government had earlier in 2021 procured 39,850,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine from the AFREXIM Bank through the African Union.
He explained that with the donation of the two million doses by the EU, the total number of doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine available to Nigeria is about 51 million.
“At the moment, Nigeria currently has in-country 12,916,450 doses of the Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine,” he said.
He further explained that the Federal Government will channel the vaccines on those who are in the hard-to-reach locations such as riverine areas, desert areas and security-compromised areas.
“This is because the Johnson & Johnson’s 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,” Faisal added.
According to him, Nigeria is committed to a safe, equitable, and effective COVID-19 vaccination program.
Faisal further explained 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 (WHO) are safe and can deliver adequate protection against the disease, he said.
“While 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.”
So far, Nigeria has successfully vaccinated 15,792,392 people, or 14.1 per cent of the eligible population, with the first dose.
The NPHCDA boss disclosed that the Federal Government is using the platform of COVID-19 vaccination to also make available access to other primary healthcare interventions.
According to him, the NPHCDA has been engaging with the poor performing states to identify areas where they would require more support and to also help them in identifying areas where they can improve in order to ramp up their vaccination coverage.
He assured that there will be a more rapid vaccine coverage over the next couple of weeks.
Faisal called on all eligible Nigerians who are yet to be vaccinated to avail themselves of opportunities to receive their COVID-19 vaccines.
Blessing Otoibhi is a Multimedia Journalist and Anchor host for the News in 60 seconds at The International Center For Investigative Reporting. You can shoot her a mail via Botoibhi@icirnigeria.org or connect on Twitter @B_otoibhi