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COVID-19: Africa in danger of being left behind in race for vaccines, says WHO



The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), says it is expecting the final confirmation for coronavirus vaccine from Covax Initiative backed by Gavi Vaccine Alliance, World Health Organisation and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

The Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Friday in Abuja.

“We are expecting final confirmation soon from Covax on when our first doses will arrive through the programme.

“In parallel, we are speaking to both the African Union and manufacturers to get the doses we need,” he said.

Shuaib noted that the country was expected to take delivery of its first coronavirus vaccine doses in February, with health workers, top government officials and vulnerable people to be given priority.

He said the country targeted to vaccinate 70 per cent of its population in the country.

Shuaib said the first batch would be enough for a maximum of 50,000 people, equivalent to about 0.00025 per cent of the country’s population.

He said it would be allocated to healthcare professionals working in the coronavirus isolation centers and those supporting them, as well as government officials.

Shuaib stated that the country had also acquired three ultra-cold freezers to keep the Pfizer vaccines at the required temperature.

According to him, in the long term, government plans to invest in vaccines that are easier to store, such as those created by AstraZeneca Plc and the University of Oxford.

Recall that Nigeria hopes to get 42 million COVID-19 vaccines to cover one fifth of its population through the global COVAX scheme.

The initial vaccines would come as part of Nigeria’s plan to inoculate 40 per cent of the population this year and another 30 per cent in 2022, with 100,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine arriving by the end of January.

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