Nigeria receives nearly four million free Covax vaccines

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Nigeria has received its batch of AstraZeneca vaccines.
Nigeria has received its batch of AstraZeneca vaccines.
PHOTO: Justin Tallis/AFP

  • Nigeria has received 3.94 million Covid-19 vaccines from Covax.
  • The vaccines are the first of 16 million doses that Covax plans to deliver to the country of 200 million people.
  • The vaccines are manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.

Nearly four million coronavirus jabs arrived in Nigeria on Tuesday, making Africa's most populous nation the latest country to receive vaccines from Covax, a global scheme to provide free inoculations.

An Emirates flight carrying the shipment arrived shortly before noon at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in the capital Abuja, an AFP journalist said.

It contained 3.94 million Oxford/AstraZenica doses, the UN and Nigeria's health agency added.

Richer countries have surged ahead with vaccinations, but many poorer countries are still awaiting deliveries, prompting the World Health Organisation (WHO) to warn that the crisis cannot end unless everyone can inoculate their populations.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, that arrived in Nigeria are the first of 16 million doses that Covax plans to deliver over the coming months to the country of 200 million people.

"Today is a good day for Nigeria," Faisal Shuaib, director of the primary healthcare agency, said in a statement.

"Our team is ready to start administering doses to frontline health workers."

Nigeria's food and drug control agency approved the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for use last month.

Vaccinations are scheduled to start Friday with frontline workers and support staff followed by the president and vice president on Saturday, a government spokesman Garba Shehu told AFP.

The Nigerian government said it hoped to vaccinate at least 70 percent of its adult population over the next two years.

"As the vaccines arrive in batches due to limited supply we will inform Nigerians about who and where to receive the vaccine," Shuaib told reporters Monday.

The agency launched a self-registration portal online to try to ease the rollout but the country faces immense challenges due to security and logistics.

"States without a functional airport will have their vaccines transported by road using vans with fitted cold cabins, from the nearest airport," Shuaib said.

The West African country has recorded 156 017 cases and 1 915 deaths since the start of the pandemic, though the figures are considered undercounted given the low number of tests administered.

A new virus variant has also been discovered in Nigeria, but researchers have not yet determined if it is more contagious or deadly than the original strain.

Last week, Ghana and Ivory Coast were the first African countries to receive vaccines from Covax, an initiative led by Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, WHO and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) with UNICEF as implementing partner.

Did you know you can comment on this article? Subscribe to News24 and add your voice to the conversation.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Show Comments ()
Voting Booth
Are you still optimistic about the future of South Africa?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, I believe the potential is still there
18% - 461 votes
No, I feel we cannot reverse the damage that has been done
49% - 1250 votes
I will only be able to say after the 2024 elections
33% - 838 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.