The federal government on Thursday said $298.5 million (over N122 billion) was spent to procure 29 million doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
Faisal Shuaib, executive director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), stated this when the federal government took delivery of the first batch of 177,600 doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
Shuaib said the balance of the vaccine will subsequently be delivered in monthly tranches, while vaccination will commence Monday, 16th August.
It would be recalled that Nigeria had already taken delivery of 4.08 million doses of the Moderna vaccines donated by the US government.
The ED noted that Nigeria was among the first ten African countries to receive the vaccines shipment through the partnership.
According to him, the single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson is said to be highly effective in preventing severe illness and death from the Delta and Beta variants of the coronavirus, data from a clinical trial in South Africa suggest.
Shuaib said that the 177, 600 doses would step up efforts to battle the third wave of infections across the country, noting that the shipment of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine, was the first of its monthly supplies in the country under an arrangement with AU nations.
He restated that this batch of J&J vaccines will be focused on those who are in the hard-to-reach areas (riverine areas, desert areas, and security-compromised areas the elderly and frail individuals across the country.
“This is because the J&J vaccine is administered as a single dose vaccine unlike the AstraZeneca and Moderna that require two doses for complete vaccination,” the NPHCDA boss said.
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), regional chief operating officer, Abdoulaye Kone, said that the vaccine acquisition by AVAT was a unique milestone for the African continent.
According to Kone, it marks the first time that the AU Member States have collectively purchased vaccines to safeguard the health of the African population.
He disclosed that the first monthly shipment of vaccines acquired by AVAT commenced on Aug. 5 to the several Member States and a total of 6.4 million doses will be shipped in August.
AVAT was established by the African COVID-19 Vaccine Acquisition Task Team in November 2020 under the African Union chairmanship of President Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa.
It is part of the African Union’s COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Access Strategy, and its goal of vaccinating at least 60 percent of the African population with safe and efficacious vaccines against COVID-19.
The agreement with Johnson & Johnson was made possible through a USD 2 billion facility provided by Afreximbank, who are also the Financial and Transaction Advisers, Guarantors, Instalment Payment Advisers and Payment Agents, and the support of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) who coordinated the alignment of the AU Ministers of Finance on the financing arrangements.
The UNICEF supported by the African Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP) is providing logistical and delivery services to the various African Union Member States.