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FG says delivery date for next batch of COVID-19 vaccines uncertain

The federal government through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) says the delivery date for the expected batches of Covid-19 vaccines is uncertain following disruptions in the global supply chain.

It would be recalled that the Executive Director/CEO, NPHCDA, Faisal Shuaib, had said some batches of vaccines are expected through the COVAX facility by the end of May or early June 2021. He also said 29.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine are expected through the African Union (AU).

But, Shuaib speaking at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday said there is no clarity on when Nigeria will get its next shipment .

It would also be recalled the Serum Institute of India, a major supplier of COVID-19 vaccines had announced its plan to suspend the vaccine following the spike 9f infections in India.

The ED said, “As most people here know by now, the global community is facing great challenges regarding vaccine supply. Like most nations, this impacts the clarity over Nigeria’s next shipment.

“While we have information that we may get the next consignment of vaccines by end of July or August, these have not been officially confirmed. When we are able to, we will provide an update regarding timelines and details of the next shipment. At present, we do not have that information available due to the wider context we are in.”

The ED however expressed optimism following the announcement by the United States to donate 20 million vaccine doses by the end of June to the COVAX facility, while the International Monetary Fund is now advocating for a $50 billion Fund to be spent on ensuring a faster rollout of COVID-19 vaccines globally.

Shuaib said the fund from IMF would be used to expand vaccine production capacity and also increase COVAX vaccine coverage.

The ED further informed that the agency has almost completed administering all first doses of the vaccines and have begun administering the second doses. He said a total of 4,683 eligible Nigerians have received their second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines.

“Those individuals currently eligible for second doses will have received their first dose 6 to 12 weeks ago”, he said.

Shuaib also informed that a total of 1,929,237 Nigerians, representing 96% of the targeted population have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Nigeria has received over 4 million doses of the vaccines from COVAX and private institutions.

He assured that the federal Government is taking significant precautions to protect Nigerians against B.1.617.2, known as the Indian variant.

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