FG receives covid-19 vaccines from US government

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Four million and eighty doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine donated by President Joe Biden’s administration of the United States of America have been received by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The vaccines which arrived in Abuja, around 2:15 a.m. on Sunday, were delivered through the COVAX facility, a vaccine alliance aimed at ensuring equitable distribution of vaccines globally.

The vaccines were received and stored at the country’s National Strategic Cold Store near the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.

The President Joe Biden, had in May, pledged to share 80 million vaccines produced in the U.S with countries around the world to protect the most vulnerable and stem transmission of the coronavirus.

Africa is expected to receive 25 million of the promised vaccines, with the first shipments to Burkina Faso, Djibouti, and Ethiopia which had already been delivered.

Addressing the media on Monday morning in Abuja, the executive director and chief executive officer of Nigeria’s National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, said the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, had, ahead of the arrival of the vaccines, purchased 60 ultra-cold chain equipment and have since allocated one to each of the 36 states.

The State Department’s coordinator for COVID-19 recovery and global health in the U.S, Gayle Smith,  said the 25 million vaccines were donated to 49 African countries in partnership with the African Union and COVAX.

He added that the Biden’s administration is committed to leading the global response to the pandemic by providing safe and effective vaccines to the world.

While responding to questions on whether those who took the first dose of the Oxford Astrazeneca vaccines could take from the Moderna types just received, Shuaib said; “That is not the recommendation of the WHO and that is not what we are going to be doing in Nigeria. For those who have taken the first dose of Astrazeneca, we are expecting in a week or so additional consignment of Astrazeneca vaccines that we will give as second doses.”

He also added that the country is expecting about 700,000 doses in the coming week and another 4.9 million doses by mid August.

“We now have a large menu that Nigerians can choose from,” he said.

According to Shuaib, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has to certify that the vaccines are good and safe for Nigerians.

“NAFDAC has taken samples of the vaccine for testing and we expect that in the next 48 hours, they will give us feedback as to whether we are good to go,” he added.

Shuaib also revealed that his agency will work with the private sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) to deliver the vaccines at the state levels, adding that the vaccines received are valid until December 2021 and January 2022 and that the two doses will be given four weeks apart.

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