Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Nigerian Government yesterday formally took delivery of 501,600 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines donated by the Government of France to Nigeria through the COVAX facility.
With the receipt of the French donation, Nigeria said it has now taken delivery of over 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
Also France yesterday said it recognised the vaccination certification by Nigeria and is fully open to Nigerians that were vaccinated whenever they visit the country.
The Executive Director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, who disclosed this during a brief ceremony to mark the reception of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines donated by France to Nigeria yesterday in Abuja, said Nigeria was among the African countries to receive vaccines from the Government of France to Nigeria.
Shauib said: “With profound appreciation to the Government and people of France, I am glad to inform you that we have taken delivery of 501,600 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines donated by the Government of France to Nigeria through the COVAX facility.
He said the French vaccine arrived in Nigeria on Monday.
Nigeria had in March 2021 commenced COVID-19 vaccination on having received approximately four million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines from COVAX facility as an initiative aimed at ensuring equitable distribution of vaccines globally.
The country recently flagged off the second phase of COVID-19 vaccination having received another four million doses of Moderna vaccines from the government of the United States of America.
Nigeria has also received another 177,600 doses of Johnson and Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccines from the African Union (AU).
On August 17, Nigeria also took delivery of 699,760 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines from the UK Government.
Shuaib said it is indeed gratifying to say that France has not only been a dependable development ally to Nigeria but has been quite brotherly in all ramifications.
“The donation of over half a million doses of AstraZeneca to Nigeria is a demonstration of France’s confidence in Nigeria’s capability as an active and progressive partner in the global fight to end the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Shuaib further added that Nigeria’s vaccine storage facilities have remained efficient and well maintained as he stressed that no standards were compromised in logistics requirements for effective management and utilisation of all COVID-19 vaccines available in the country.
He said that the federal government has put in place necessary measures to ensure monitoring and accountability of the vaccines.
“We track utilisation of all COVID-19 vaccines in all states of the Federation and receive daily reports from our Senior Supervisors and State Immunisation officers who are on the field to monitor the management and administration of the vaccines.”
In his remarks, the French Ambassador, Jerome Pasquier, who had successfully completed his tour of duty in the country, commended the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in addressing the pandemic through procurement of vaccines and getting them across the country.
Pasquier said he was happy that the French Government was donating over half a million doses today and encouraged Nigerians yet to take the vaccine to do so.
“After three years in Nigeria, today happens to be my final assignment in Nigeria as I leave the country for France tomorrow, to begin my next assignment.
The ambassador added that the French board was fully opened to Nigerians that were vaccinated.
“If you have a proof of vaccination that will be said you can go to France. You do not need to have a COVID-19 test before boarding the plane.
“You do not need to have a COVID-19 test, when you are in France, but with your certificate from Nigeria, you can get tested, which is required in some places around the world.
“So, both regulations apply to Nigerian nationals, or any other nationality, because we know wherever the progress is, it doesn’t make a difference.”
Speaking of an earlier goal to vaccinate 10 per cent of every country’s population by the end of September, which fell short, by WHO, the Country Representative (WR), Dr. Walter Mulombo Kazadi, said Nigerians need to get vaccinated to meet the new target of 40 per cent benchmark, by Dec.2021.
Kazadi noted that the organisation had also called on countries which have already achieved high coverage to swap their place in the vaccine distribution line with countries that have had less access.
He commended Nigeria on its vaccines distribution and also its technology approach in its vaccination programme.