US, UK, EU, Germany, India Hail Arrival of Vaccines

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Nigerian partners have hailed the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines.

United States, United Kingdom, Germany, European Union and India, in separate reactions yesterday celebrated the arrival of the 3.92 million doses of the vaccines.

United States said: “The US joins in welcoming arrival of the COVID19 vaccine to Nigeria. We stand with Nigeria in the face of the pandemic, with over 60 staff working on a daily basis on COVID-19 response and vaccine roll out; epidemiology; outbreak response; lab operations and data analytics.”

The United States further said it contributed $2 billion to COVAX with another $1.5 billion promised.

“We must work to finance health security; strengthen global health systems and create early warning systems to prevent, detect and respond to future biological threats because they will keep coming,” the United States also said.

UK, on its part, said it has committed up to £829 million to the development of COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and diagnostics and their distribution to developing countries.

In a statement in Abuja by the Head of Communications, British High Commission, Abuja, Dean Hurlock, the UK said it galvanised the efforts because it wanted to be a force for good in the world.

Apart from being the first to back COVAX, UK added it has committed £548 million to COVAX to ensure global access to vaccines and has consistently called on other donors to step up their support.

On the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines, the Development Director at the British High Commission, Dr. Christopher Pycroft, said: “We’re proud to be one of the biggest donors to COVAX, securing over one billion doses for the most vulnerable people in countries around the world.

“We do it because we want to be a force for good in the world, and because we need a global solution to a global pandemic.

“Today, with UK aid support, people in Nigeria will be amongst the first to receive vaccinations through COVAX – the biggest ever global vaccine campaign to end the pandemic.”

EU, in a statement on its Facebook page, said it was the lead contributor to the COVAX scheme.

The EU also said its team mobilised €38.5bn in response to the COVID-19 outbreak worldwide, of which €8 billion for Africa.

“It is an EU priority to help end the pandemic by enabling equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines. Today’s delivery takes us another step closer to this goal,” the Head of Cooperation, EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms. Cecile Tassin-Pelzer, who represented the EU at the event said in a goodwill message.

The German Government, in a message on its Facebook page, said: “Today, Germany welcomes the arrival of the first number doses of vaccines to Nigeria through COVAX. With 1.2 billion euro, Germany is the single biggest donor to ACT-Accelerator and COVAX.

“The aim of COVAX is to distribute two billion vaccine doses in 2021, in order to vaccinate the most vulnerable 20 percent of the global population – first of all: healthcare workers and risk groups.”

Also, the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Abhay Thakur, said the supply of the vaccines to Nigeria was in keeping with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment made at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September, 2020, that “India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help humanity in fighting COVID-19.”

The Indian High Commission in Abuja, in a statement by Vipul Mesariya of its Political and Information Section, said India will be gifting 100,000 doses of Covishield vaccines to Nigeria shortly, and 200,000 doses to UN peacekeepers, that includes many African military personnel.