Nigeria ‘secures’ 41m additional COVID-19 vaccine doses with uncertain delivery dates

*The definite delivery dates of the much expected Coronavirus vaccines remain unknown as Nigerian authorities yet ‘hope’ to have the vaccine shots before end of first quarter 2021

*The timelines are not in the hands of the recipient, says Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Minister for Health

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

It is still all expectations and promises amid uncertainties. As the second wave of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with its new variant blazes in the country, Nigeria has secured 41 million supplementary doses of COVID-19 vaccines for immunisation of the over 200 million populace.

It was learnt the 41 million vaccine doses are expected to come from three major sources, as Pfizer, AstraZeneca (through the Serum Institute of India) and Johnson & Johnson.

Nevertheless, the definite delivery dates for the vaccines into the country remain indefinite as vaccine manufacturers struggle to meet global demands in time.

Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Honourable Minister for Health

Nigeria, like several other African countries, is yet to begin mass vaccination programmes, even as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise across the continent.

Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Honourable Minister for Health, during an appearance on a Channels Television programme Thursday, January 28, 2021, confirmed that “we do not have an exact date.

“The date it comes out depends on when the manufacturers are able to deliver, and that is not something that any country can enforce at this time.”

The country has secured 41 million doses as part of efforts by an African Union (AU) task team to help nations on the continent to gain equitable access to vaccines.

Report indicates that the AU Thursday had announced that it secured 400 million supplementary doses of the vaccines for Africa.

This announcement was said to be sequel to an earlier announcement by the continental union on securing 270 million vaccine doses.

Hitherto, Nigeria was assigned to take delivery of 100,000 vaccine doses via the WHO-backed Covax sharing facility by the end of January.

Nonetheless, the timeline for the delivery of the initial 100,000 vaccine shots has now been shifted to February 2021, according to Dr. Ehanire Thursday.

The Minister stated: “The timelines are not in the hands of the recipient.”

Even the blocs like the European Union (EU) that had preordered COVID-19 vaccines since last year were yet to get enough supply, said he.

In terms of foots the bill for the vaccine batches to the African countries, since most countries on the continent fall under the class of middle and low-income countries, the African Export–Import Bank, also known as Afreximbank, will finance purchase of the vaccines, according to report.

But then, the shipments are free for the recipient countries: they are expected to make a 15 percent deposit and repay the balance over a five to seven-year period.

In view of the development, Ehanire said: “Nigeria is mobilising resources. We have some funds ready. We will make a substantial deposit when it is time.”

It was gathered though the Covax vaccines being expected in February are expected to be free for the first 20 percent of the population, the country will pay for the “logistics of delivery and administration”.

Meanwhile, Dr. Mukhtar Muhammad, National Incident Manager of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, has disclosed that the Federal Government is doing all it can to ensure that the COVID-19 vaccines arrive in Nigeria before the end of the first quarter.

Muhammad, who was also featured on Channels TV programme, stated that the government is doing its best to get enough vaccines.

According to him, the government is trying to ensure that at least 70 to 80 percent of Nigerians get vaccinated when the time comes.

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