Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Nigeria to access COVID-19 vaccines from January 2021, says Okonjo-Iweala

*Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former Minister for Finance, says poorer countries, lower middle-income countries like Nigeria, need to get COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

Reaffirming the importance of virus vaccination for everyone on the planet earth, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former Minister for Finance, has assured Nigeria and other African countries of access to COVID-19 vaccines beginning end of January through the first quarter of 2021.

Okonjo-Iweala is currently the African Union Special Envoy on mobilising international economic support for the continental fight against COVID-19 and Nigeria’s candidate for the Office of the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

A statement by the country’s Ministry of foreign Affairs Wednesday, December 9 quoted Dr. Okonjo-Iweala as saying this after a closed-door meeting with Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, Honourable Minister for Foreign Affairs, in Abuja, FCT.

The statement quoted the former Minister for Finance: “As long as one person has it in the world, no one is safe.

“And that is why poorer countries, lower middle-income countries like Nigeria, need to get it as quickly as possible.”

The international initiative involved the World Health Organisation, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), GAVI and the international community, to get vaccines delivered to developing and poorer countries, in an affordable manner and quickly, she stated.

Okonjo-Iweala disclosed the Pfizer vaccine and AstraZeneca are currently being negotiated, so that poor countries don’t have to stand in a queue behind rich countries.

She described Africans as blessed, for not having the same incidence rate of COVID-19 like other continents.

She, however, warned African nations against complacency in this regard.

A platform called the COVAX facility had been developed with 186 countries on board, saying that the side interested in serving the poor countries had 92 countries, for which resources have been raised to try and get the vaccines to them quickly, OKonjo-Iweala noted.

She added: “So, the Pfizer vaccine, the AstraZeneca, those are being negotiated now so that poor countries don’t have to stand in line behind rich countries.

“So, we hope they are starting by the end of January. We will be able to reach these countries, including most of the African countries, Nigeria included, will be able to get access to some of these vaccines.”

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