By Ifeanyi Nwoko
The British government has donated a fresh batch of 592,880 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Nigeria, as part of the over five million doses, pledged to 11 African countries.
A statement by the British High Commission in Nigeria on Friday, said the additional donation to Nigeria, brought the total number of vaccine doses donated by the UK to 1,292,640.
It said the donation to Nigeria and other countries in Africa, was part of UK government’s broader plan to distribute 100 million vaccine doses across the World.
“The UK has pledged to share 80 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines with the COVAX Facility, as part of a broader pledge to share 100 million doses with the rest of the world.
“Today, Nigeria received another 592,880 doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, donated to Nigeria by the UK via the COVAX facility.
“This latest batch is part of the nine million COVID-19 vaccines the UK has donated around the world, since the end of July.
“Recipient countries include Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Senegal, Egypt, Ethiopia and Pakistan,” it said.
According to the high commission, 80 per cent of the 100 million vaccines pledged by the UK, will be distributed using the COVAX facility, with 30 million due to be sent by the end of 2021.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the UK led the international response to COVID-19, with the provision of 548 million Pounds to fund vaccines for lower income countries.
“So far, the COVAX facility has delivered more than 152 million vaccine doses to over 137 countries and territories, including 83 lower-middle income countries.
“COVAX aims to deliver 1.8 billion vaccines to lower-income countries by early 2022.
The UK also invested 90 million Pounds to support development of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Over a billion doses of the vaccine has been delivered at a non-profit price globally, with two-thirds going to lower- and middle-income countries,” it said.
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Gill Atkinson, said: “The UK continues to promote global efforts to help every country receive the vaccine against COVID-19.
“I am so pleased to see Nigeria receive an extra 592,880 doses donated by the UK, which brings the total this month to 1,292,640 doses. This will help Nigeria meet its urgent need for vaccines.
“Only by vaccinating more people around the world, can we bring an end to the global coronavirus pandemic.”
For Dr Seth Berkley, Chief Executive Officer of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the latest shipment meant that more people would benefit from the life-saving vaccines.
Berkley thanked the UK government for its support for COVAX and its objective, to make sure the most vulnerable are protected against the virus. (NAN)