• Tuesday, October 03, 2023
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The crooked math behind Nigeria’s vaccine allocation

AstraZeneca vaccine safe, says Sanwo-Olu as he takes first jab

Nigeria has allocated more vaccines to some states with lower Covid-19 cases while states that have reported more cases have been allocated less, putting the equity of the vaccine allocation in question.

Africa’s biggest economy received 3.92 million doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines from Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) which it has to allocate between its over 200 million people in 36 states with priority on states that have been a hot spot for the virus.

Lagos, home to 20 million Nigerians received the highest vaccine allocation of 507,000 with a total number of 56,697 confirmed cases as of 11th March 2021 and 843 persons still on admission.

Ogun State, Nigeria’s manufacturing hub was allocated 50,000 vaccines and has 4,495 cases but Kano got four times the allocation of Ogun state at 209,000 with 3,825 cases.

In addition, Bauchi state with a total number of 1,420 cases as of March 11th received 80,000 vaccines while Osun state with 2,480 cases obtained 64,240 vaccines, this over 15,000 vaccines less.

This makes the criteria for allocating the vaccine unclear.

“Clearly, there are political considerations in the Covid-19 vaccine distribution,” Ogbonnaya Igbokwe, a member of the Health Thematic Group, NESG said.

The vaccine Nigeria obtained from the COVAX initiative is a product of a resilient fight for global vaccine equity.

The purpose of obtaining the vaccine could be defeated if equity is not achieved in Nigeria.

However, this could be an early call as the vaccine doses obtained are the first of four batches Nigeria is expected to receive.

“This is not the only supply that the country will receive, this is just the first so it might be early in the day to conclude that this will be a continuous pattern,” Igbokwe said.

Nasarawa also received 61,000 vaccines with 2,283 confirmed cases while a state like Benue with 1,188 confirmed cases got 50,000 vaccine allocation.

Yobe with 293 cases of the virus was allocated 65,100 compared to Ekiti states with 838 cases but got 52,960 vaccines.

“The issue surrounding the vaccine allocation is a reflection of the many things wrong with Nigeria, Femi Olugbile, a top health consultant said.

“This is why we have to restructure. Even if the federal authority is buying vaccines, different states of the federation should be buying within their capacity,” Olugbile said.

BusinessDay’s analysis using the vaccine allocated to the states as a percentage of the number of confirmed cases in those states also shows the allocation per head in each state.

The analysis showed that although Lagos received the highest number of vaccines, it has 9 vaccines per head, the lowest among the states.

This implies that if the 56,697 confirmed cases in Lagos were to be given vaccines based on the allocation (507,000), they will get 9 vaccines each. When compared to other states with lower cases, this is small.

Other states like Yobe, Jigawa, Ekiti, Katsina, and Kano have 222, 137, 63, 77, and 54 vaccines per head respectively.

The Federal Capital Territory has the second-highest vaccine allocation of 219,800 with a total number of 19,429 confirmed cases and 11 vaccines per head.

Others like Kaduna got 180,000 doses with 8,724 total cases; Kastina obtained 160,000 vaccines having 2,060 cases, Ondo got 75,570 doses with 3,083 total cases and Jigawa received 68,320 doses with 496 total cases.