The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), on Monday in Abuja, received over three million single-shot COVID-19 vaccines, donated by the Italian government.
There is a report that with the 17 million doses earlier sent by other EU Member States, the three million brings the number of doses gifted to Nigeria by EU Member States to 20 million, representing 61 per cent of all donated vaccines received by Nigeria through the COVAX facility.
It was also reported in February, the Nigerian Government, through the Federal Ministry of Health and NPHCDA, formally rolled out the administration of J&J vaccine across the country, rapidly improving coverage.
Delivering the vaccines, the Italian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Stefano De Leo, stated that “Italy remains committed, along with other European Union members, to support Nigeria’s vaccine needs, with the aim to help to expand global vaccine coverage.
“Providing single-shot vaccines reduces logistical challenges and ensures a faster achievement of Nigeria’s Government vaccination goals.”
De Leo stressed the efficiency of working through multilateral platforms, and highlighted the efforts of Team Europe, which have pledged to donate 700 million doses worldwide by mid-2022.
The Head of Delegation of the European Union to Nigeria, Amb. Samuela Isopi, said: “The EU’s action against COVID-19 does not stop at its borders.”
Isopi said that since 2021, as Team Europe, the EU and its member states have given more than 20 million COVID-19 doses to Nigeria through COVAX.
“By acting together, guided by the principles of solidarity and multilateralism, we can collectively overcome COVID-19.
“Today’s donation is in furtherance of Team Europe’s contribution towards a resilient and healthy population because we understand that health is central to the development of any country,” she said.
She said that the European Union and its Member States have made COVID-19 vaccine dose-sharing one of their priorities to ensure worldwide equitable access to safe and efficient vaccines.
“A key step in this journey was the Global Health Summit convened in Rome by the Prime Minister of Italy, Mario Draghi, and EU Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, on 21 May 2021.
“This very first G20 summit on health marked the beginning of a new chapter in global health policy. Overall, under the Italian presidency, the G20 members committed to accelerate the vaccination campaign globally to reach 70 per cent of the world population by mid-2022.
“The EU and its Member States are so far the biggest donor of COVID-19 vaccines in the world, having shared over 500 million doses for donation to countries around the world, via COVAX and bilaterally.
“Italy has pledged US$ 470 million to the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (Gavi COVAX AMC) and has provided additional specific funding and doses to priority countries,” she added.
The Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, commended the Italian Government for these donations which are in line with the global call for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
“It is also a reflection of the sincerity and commitment of the Government of Italy and European delegates to the global efforts in halting this pandemic for nations of the world to return to their normal way of life.