The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has announced that Nigeria is expecting to receive its first batch of the COVID-19 vaccines by the beginning of March.
This was announced on Wednesday while he addressed the journalists after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja.
The Federal Government had previously announced that Nigeria would receive four million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine very soon. Nevertheless, speaking on when they will be delivered, the health minister said; “that is not in our hands. It is the hand of the person who is bringing it to us”.
Below is an excerpt of the interview on the delivery of the COVID-19 Vaccine and the government’s readiness:
“We have been told to open an account with Afreximbank under the African Union. We have done that already successfully because we are going to pay for that part of the vaccine. The COVAX vaccine is free, at no cost to us, it is made from donations.
We want to immunise about 60 to 70% of our population. If COVAX immunises 20, then we have about 40 to 50 to immunise within the next two years. So, we have to pay for that minus any donations that we get like the MTN donation, for example, all those ones reduce the quantities that we have to purchase or any other that in future are given to us free of charge.
Now, the COVAX will start delivering to African countries before the end of February. That is what they told us. We hope that before the end of this month it would be our turn, or latest by the beginning of next month. It doesn’t lie in our hands.
We are ready to receive it even this evening or tomorrow. We are ready and prepared, we have all the things that we need to prepare ourselves.”
This statement is coming on the same day that Ghana became the first country to receive vaccines from Covax, a global scheme to procure and distribute Covid inoculations for free for poorer countries.
The 600,000 doses delivered to Ghana were the Oxford/AstraZeneca formula, made under license by the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, the Serum Institute of India.