After weeks of expectation, about four million vaccines from the COVAX facility for the COVID-19 vaccines is expected to arrive in Nigeria on March 1, 2021 (tomorrow), the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, spoke on Saturday in an interview with journalists.
He noted that the vaccines would be in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, on March 2, according to the information provided by the United Nations Children’s Fund.
He said, “Well, I can assure you that the vaccines are coming and they are coming very quickly. Barring any change in the delivery plan, as has been revealed to us by UNICEF, because the logistic are in the hands of UNICEF, we believe that our vaccines will be back in here on March 1, 2021 by 10:30pm and arrive in Abuja on March 2, 2021 at about 11:10am.
“We are making preparations about it. But the truth about it is that as we receive the vaccines, this one is coming from the COVAX facility, about four million doses of vaccines, we are supposed to have about 16 million in the first quarter from the COVAX facility, expecting that by the time they supply all the range, we are expecting that they will supply 84 million doses from the COVAX facility which is free of charge and will cover about 20 per cent of the Nigerian population.
“We also have another source of vaccines coming in from the AVAD facility, which is the African Vaccine Action Team. We are expecting about 41 million of that, a combination of AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson.
“Everything we are expecting from the COVAX facility is going to be the AstraZeneca which has a good ravage in terms of storage for us because it uses +2 – +8 per cent of refrigeration. It doesn’t come with any complication; we already have that core chain available in all the local governments, constituencies and wards in this country.
“I believe we are well prepared to receive our vaccines and I hope that they keep to this time frame that they have given us. We are eagerly expecting the vaccines, but I must caution Nigerians that it is going to be a combination of vaccines with non-pharmaceutical measures.
“Non-pharmaceutical measures will remain in place, wearing masks, keeping of social distancing, the need for personal hygiene and taking responsibility to ensure that we do not congregate in large gatherings; avoid travels that are not necessary.
“I wish us well. By the time we get our people vaccinated between 2021 40 per cent and 2021 30 per cent, a combination of a cumulative number of 70 per cent, we will be arriving at the point of herd immunity.”
Meanwhile, one year into the pandemic, Nigeria has been able to test only 1, 489, 103 samples which is less than one per cent of the country’s population.
The nation’s population stands at 206 million based on the latest estimates of the National Population Commission.
The figure, obtained from the website of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control on Saturday, implies that less than 0.72 per cent of Nigeria’s population has been tested.
Within the same period, 155, 076 persons tested positive for the virus while 1, 902 lost their lives.
The number of laboratories that could test for COVID-19 also rose from zero to 75 within the same period with Lagos State having the highest number of labs while some states have only one.