COVID-19 vaccines will cushion humanitarian challenges in Nigeria ― Minister

• Expect delivery of additional 84m doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine before year-end

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, on Tuesday, expressed optimism that the COVID-19 vaccines will help reduce the humanitarian issues in the country.

Farouq stated at a brief ceremony on the arrival of the consignment of 3.92 million doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

“Let me start by expressing my happiness for the arrival of the first consignment of the COVID-19 vaccines. This demonstrates a milestone in the history of this country in the fight against COVID- 19.

“COVID-19 is not only a health emergency but a humanitarian challenge for us in the ministry but with these vaccines now to be administered on our citizens, it will really go a long way in cushioning the humanitarian challenges that we are facing.

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”I use this opportunity to appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari for the support he has given to the Presidential Task Force through the chairman and SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha. We are all pleased and we hope that these vaccines will be effectively utilized,” Umar Farouq said.

In his remarks, the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force, Mr Boss Mustapha also described the arrival of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines as a milestone in the history of the country and international response to COVID-19.

“In the last year, the whole world has been attacked by this virus.

“The successful development of vaccines and the accelerated process for emergency authorisation has brought hope to humanity all over the world. The delivery of these vaccines was made possible as a result of the resourceful leadership provided by President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Assembly and major financial support from our friends globally.”

The PTF Chairman further observed that the Federal Government is expecting an additional 84 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine from COVAX this year, which will serve 20 per cent of Nigeria’s over 200 million population.

He disclosed that the Federal Government will begin the vaccination of frontline healthcare workers who are the highest-priority recipients in Abuja, on March 5, followed by strategic leaders on March 8.

The AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) is from Mumbai.


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