NPHCDA, others inspect 177,600 J&J Covid-19 vaccines from AU
The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and other partners have inspected the first shipment of 177,600 Johnson and Johnson single-shot vaccines from the African Union, under the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust.
The National Strategic Cold Store, the Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, said Nigeria was indeed among the first 10 African countries to receive the vaccines’ shipment through the partnership.
“The 177, 600 doses would step up efforts to battle the third wave of infections across the country.
“Nigeria took delivery of 177,600 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines, being part of the 29,850,000 doses that the Federal Government of Nigeria procured through the AVAT of the AU Commission, using the facility provided by African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank)
“The balance of the vaccine will subsequently be delivered in monthly tranches.
“This batch of J&J vaccine will be focused on those who are in the hard-to-reach areas, riverine areas, desert areas and security-compromised areas, the elderly and frail individuals, across the country.
“This is because the J&J vaccine is administered as a single dose vaccine, unlike the AstraZeneca and Moderna that require two doses for complete vaccination,” Shuaib said.
The single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson is said to be highly effective in preventing severe illness and death from the Delta and Beta variants of the coronavirus, according to data from a clinical trial in South Africa.
The Regional Afreximbank Chief Operating officer, Mr Abdoulaye Kone, said that the vaccine acquisition by AVAT was a unique milestone for the African continent.
It marks the first time that the AU member States have collectively purchased vaccines to safeguard the health of the African population, Kone said.
He disclosed that the first monthly shipment of the vaccines acquired by AVAT commenced on Aug. 5, to several member States, and the shipments would continue for a total of 6.4 million doses to be delivered in August.
The World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, commended the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out in Nigeria with the vaccination of front-line workers and other priority groups, who were at high risk of COVID-19.
He said that Nigeria’s preparation for the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination, involving more resources and logistics, was highly commendable.
Mulombo added that a multi-sectorial approach at the different levels of the government had been set up to address issues around COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy.
”As I always mentioned at different fora, vaccines are a critical tool in the battle against COVID-19. These vaccines are safe and effective and will be the game-changer: but for the foreseeable future, we must continue wearing masks, physically distance and avoid crowds.
“The J&J vaccine we have today was listed for emergency use by WHO on March 12, 2021. The vaccine has been authorized for use in Europe, the United States and other countries.
“As the only single-dose COVID-19 vaccine approved for use to date, the vaccine may be an important tool for accessing hard-to-reach populations, thus playing a key role in preventing infections and reducing deaths across Nigeria.
“Let me seize this opportunity to say that this pandemic still has a long way to run: Nigeria is experiencing the 3rd wave and we need to work together to ensure that all preventive measures put in place are maximized, to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on our lives,” he said.