BY PATIENCE IVIE IHEJIRIKA, Abuja
The federal government has confirmed that the expected four million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines will arrive the country on Tuesday morning.
Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, made this disclosure late Saturday night.
“I can assure you that the vaccines are coming and they are coming very quickly barring any change in the delivery plan that has been released to us by UNICEF.
“We believe that our vaccines should depart India on the 1st of March, 2021 at 10:30pm and arrive Abuja on 2nd of March by 11:10 am,” Mustapha said.
Nigeria is expecting to receive 16 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines through the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Assess Facility (COVAX), a World Health Organisation-backed programme set-up to divide about two billion doses of vaccines across 92 low-and middle-income countries.
The facility promised access to vaccines for up to 20 per cent of participating countries’ population with an initial supply beginning in the first quarter of the year to immunise three per cent of their populations.
The Federal government and WHO Nigeria had announced earlier that the first four million doses of the vaccines will arrive the country by the end of February.
Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, on Friday, said though the federal government was expecting the arrival of the vaccines very soon, he was not sure when the vaccines will arrive the country, adding that only the donors of the vaccines will be able to tell when the vaccines will arrive Nigeria.
This was after he had admitted on Wednesday that the country may have to wait till March to receive its first doses of the vaccines.
Ghana received 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines on Wednesday, making it the first country to benefit from the COVAX programme.
Ivory Coast, a country with over 32,000 COVID-19 cases and 188 deaths, also received over 500,000 doses of the Oxford-Astrazeneca COVID-19 vaccine on Friday.
One year after recording its index case, Nigeria has recorded more than 155,000 cases of COVID 19 with over 1900 deaths, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
Fontline health workers in the country are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the vaccines, which they believe will not only protect them against the virus but also relief them of the workload occasion by the pandemic.