‘Nigeria has highest allocation of COVID-19 vaccine in Africa’ – WHO

Nigeria is set to receive the largest allocation of 16million doses out of the 88million AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine doses allocated to African countries in the first phase by the end of February instead of the initial 100,000 Pfizer doses earlier expected, the World Health Organisation (WHO) hinted yesterday.

WHO country representative in Nigeria, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulomboo, disclosed this at an emergency press briefing in Abuja, while debunking a report that Nigeria had been disqualified from accessing Covid-19 vaccines.

He said the demand for the initial allocation of 1.2 million Pfizer doses was exceptionally high, adding that COVAX received interests from 72 countries, from which 51 countries were considered by the review committee as “ready”.

According to him, Nigeria is among these countries and 18 countries were finally chosen to receive the initial Pfizer doses.

He said, “On the Africa continent, as of the 18th January deadline, COVAX received 13 submissions and a multi-agency committee evaluated the proposals of which nine were recommended as ready to deploy the Pfizer vaccines including Nigeria”.

WHO’s Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, had said during a press briefing on Thursday that to access an initial limited volume of Pfizer vaccines, countries were invited to submit proposals, adding that 13 African countries submitted proposals and were evaluated by a multi-agency committee based on current mortality rates, new cases and trends and the capacity to handle the ultra-cold chain needs of the vaccine.

Mulomboo said currently, all countries on the continent are expected to start accessing the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccines by the end of February.

He, however, noted that the vaccines were under review by the WHO for emergency use listing, adding that the outcome is expected soon.

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