From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Federal Government has taken delivery of 4,400,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines donated by the Government and people of Spain to Nigeria.
Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, received the consignment on behalf of the Federal Government at a brief ceremony in Abuja, on Tuesday.
Faisal said the donation came when it was most needed as the country is rapidly ramping up full vaccination coverage, adding that the single-dose regimen of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will enable the country to move rapidly towards achieving immunity.
He said: “As at 24th of May, 2022; 29,651,708 eligible persons have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccines, and this represents 23.4 per cent of our eligible population. 14,179,966 persons have received the second dose and 17,702,018 are fully vaccinated representing 15.8 per cent of our eligible population. 1,178,604 persons have received the booster dose.
“These figures showed that we are a far cry from our target of 70 per cent of our eligible population. However, these donations will help towards achieving our target. If we keep up with vaccination, the likely scenario is that even though the virus continues to evolve, the severity of the disease will reduce over time, as the immunity increases due to vaccination.
“But if majority of our eligible population in Nigeria and globally continue to remain unvaccinated, what we may see is that a more virulent and highly transmissible variant could emerge, sooner or later which would be worse than any variant seen.”
Ambassador of Spain to Nigeria, Juan Ignatio Sell, in his remarks, said that donation was the largest donation to an African country, adding that over 70 million vaccines has been donated worldwide.
He said: “The donation is part of a larger one together with the European Union and other member states, and a very fine example of the many things that we do as team Europe in Nigeria.
“When visiting Nigeria’s cold storage facilities and seeing all those vaccines, we became aware of the long way that lays ahead to get them into people’s arms.”