FG to prioritise frontline healthcare workers as four million doses of COVID-19 vaccine arrive Tuesday
As four million doses of COVID-19 vaccine is expected to arrive in the country on Tuesday, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) says frontline health workers would be given priority.
Executive Secretary, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaibu, stated this in a joint press statement issued on Sunday by NPHCDA, World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) on the arrival of COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria.
The delivery, according to him, will mark the first arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine in the country and make Nigeria the next West African country to benefit from the COVAX Facility after Ghana, and Cote d’Ivoire.
“We are fully prepared to receive and deliver the vaccine to eligible Nigerians as we have commenced the training of health workers and ensured that cold chain facilities are ready at all levels,” he stated.
He further stressed that a robust cold chain system that can store all types of COVID-19 vaccine in accordance with the required temperature has been put in place.
“We are therefore confident that we will have a very effective roll-out of the vaccine, starting with our critical healthcare workers, who are in the frontline in providing the care we all need.
“The delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccine is part of an overall 16 million doses planned to be delivered to Nigeria in batches over the next months by the COVAX Facility, as part of an unprecedented global effort to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
“The COVAX Facility is co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), with UNICEF as a key implementing partner,” Shuaib added.
On his part, the representative of UNICEF in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, said the COVAX Facility has worked exceptionally hard to ensure that Nigeria gets the vaccine as soon as possible so it can start its vaccination programme to the largest population in Africa.
Also speaking, the Country representative of WHO, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, said vaccines are a critical tool in the battle against COVID-19.
“In the meantime, Nigerians must continue to take steps to contain the virus, as the vaccination programme will take at least a year before it is fully effective,” he added.
Nigeria plans to vaccinate at least 70 per cent of eligible Nigerians aged 18 years and above in four phases within two years.