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First batch of COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX to arrive Nigeria this month – Health minister

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The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said on Monday the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX would arrive in Nigeria this month.

Ehanire stated this at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing in Abuja.

The minister, who said Nigerians should expect the first rollout of the vaccines from this month, however, did not specify the date or time the exercise would take place.

He said: “According to the latest information I have, we have been advised to expect the first COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX to arrive in Nigeria as from February.

“We shall continue to review plans to ensure a smooth rollout in our country.

“The date of the first arrival of vaccines in Nigeria has kept changing, because the decision lies with the manufacturer who already has heavy commitments.”

Ehanire noted that Nigeria had been allocated over 41 million doses by the African Union (AU)’s African Vaccines Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) and expecting 15 million doses from COVAX.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 vaccines important for safety of Nigerians – PTF

“Altogether, it will give us coverage for over 50 percent of our target for 2021, if we can access all doses promised,” the minister added.

He also reiterated the call by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for global equity in the allocation of vaccines, saying COVID-19 was a threat to mankind and not to a particular country.

“Besides, the Director-General of WHO has repeatedly stated that no country is safe till all countries are safe.

“We have been keeping a strict eye on the vaccines scene and those who follow International news may have heard of the scramble for vaccines which has pitched some countries against each other in Europe, as wealthy high-income countries have pre-paid to allocate vaccines to themselves.

“A spokesperson for WHO estimated that 95 percent of vaccines manufactured globally so far has gone to only 10 rich and powerful countries,” Ehanire concluded.

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