By Ajuma Edwina Ameh
Barely seven days after Nigeria received about 4 million doses of Moderna vaccines, donated by the U.S. government, Nigeria has taken delivery of 177,600 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines aimed at tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, who disclosed this during inspection of the vaccines with some health partners at the National Strategic Cold Store, on Thursday in Abuja, said the 177,600 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines were part of the 29,850,000 doses that the Federal Government of Nigeria procured through the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT).
According to Shuaib, the single-shot vaccines is safe for use like other COVID-19 vaccines approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“Nigeria was among the first ten African countries to receive the vaccines shipment through partnership.
“Nigeria took delivery of 177,600 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines, being part of the 29,850,000 doses that the Federal Government of Nigeria procured through the AVAT of the AU Commission, through the facility provided by African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK).
“This batch of J&J vaccine will be focused on those who are in the hard-to-reach areas; riverine areas, desert areas and security-compromised areas the elderly and frail individuals across the country.
“This is because the J&J vaccine is administered as a single dose vaccine unlike the AstraZeneca and Moderna that require two doses for complete vaccination.
“The balance of the vaccine will be delivered over the coming months. We have the capacity to store and distribute this vaccine all the way to the point of administration as we have walk-in freezers in all 36 States plus FCT,” NPHCDA Executive Director explained.
Shuaib said the federal government was committed to safe, equitable and effective COVID-19 vaccination for all eligible persons in the country, adding that the availability of different vaccine brands does not in any way means that some categories of people are selected for high-quality vaccines while others are targeted for low-quality vaccines.
The Country Representative, World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, commended Nigeria’s readiness to battle the disease through the acquisition of vaccines.