Nigeria set for first delivery of Covid vaccines

Nigeria will this week receive its first delivery of Covid-19 vaccines with nearly four million doses set to arrive in Africa’s most populous nation through the global Covax programme, officials said Sunday.

The agency in charge of the country’s vaccination campaign did not say in its announcement when inoculations would begin, but the first doses are to be administered to frontline healthcare personnel.

The 3.92 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine are due to arrive on Tuesday, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency said in a statement.

“The delivery will mark the first arrival of 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 (Ivory Coast),” it said.

Over the coming months, Nigeria is to receive a total of 16 million doses through Covax, which is working to provide vaccines to poorer nations.

The World Health Organisation is one of several organisations behind Covax, which aims to deliver at least two billion doses globally by the end of the year.

Nigeria hopes to vaccinate at least 70 percent of its adult population over the next two years, but it faces immense challenges in doing so related to security and logistics in the country of some 200 million people.

It has recorded 155,417 cases and 1,905 deaths, though the figures are considered undercounted given the low number of tests administered.

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