Nigeria sticks with AstraZeneca vaccine, gets one million doses from BUA
London, Feb. 9, 2021 (AltAfrica)-Nigeria has decided to stick with AstraZeneca vaccine despite its limited protection against new South African
The head of the country’s primary healthcare agency said on Monday that since Nigeria has not yet found the South African variant of Covid-19 in its population, it has decided to continue with plans to distribute the AstraZeneca vaccine for now
On Sunday, South Africa said it would halt its use of the AstraZeneca after research showed it was only minimally effective in preventing mild illness against the coronavirus variant dominant in the country.
Faisal Shuaib, director of Nigeria’s national primary healthcare development agency, said authorities were diligently searching test samples for the South African strain, and subjecting samples from travellers returning from the United Kingdom and South Africa to further genomic sequencing.
“We will continue to work with (regulators) to ensure that only a vaccine that is effective against the predominant Covid-19 strain in Nigeria will be administered,” Shuaib said.
And the decision to stay with the vaccine appears to have paid off as one of Africa’s largest conglomerates, BUA, has paid for one million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines for Nigeria through the AFREXIM Vaccine programme in partnership with CACOVID.
The firm made this known in a statement titled, ‘BUA purchases 1million Doses of AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccines for Nigeria to be delivered next week’ on Monday.
AFREXIMBANK’S $2B DRIVE TO BRING COVID-19 VACCINES TO AFRICA— ARISE News Feed (@ARISEtv) January 25, 2021
ARISE News correspondent, @femmefemi visited the @afreximbank headquarters in Cairo where she had an exclusive interview with the president of the bank.
Watch the #ARISENews report here: https://t.co/s7UyzbAsK5 pic.twitter.com/boxH9vcww1
“These doses of the vaccine which should be delivered by next week, will be the first delivery of Vaccines to Nigeria since the COVID-19 vaccines became available,” the statement added.
According to BUA, the vaccines will be distributed free to Nigerians at no cost.
The statement quoted Founder of BUA, Abdul Samad Rabiu, as thanking the President of the Afrexim Bank, Dr. Benedict Oramah, for making the purchase possible and the Nigerian Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, for coordinating the process through the CACOVID Private Sector partnership.
“BUA decided to secure these 1million vaccines by paying the full amount for the vaccines today because these vaccines became available only last week through AFREXIM.
Aside the one million free doses, Nigeria is also expecting to receive 16 million doses of the AstraZeneca shot under the COVAX programme. It said it will move forward with the vaccine once it is certified by the World Health Organization, which it expects within days.
Shuaib has said Nigeria had also applied for 7.6 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 18.4 million of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and was further considering vaccines from Russia and India.
“AstraZeneca is not the only vaccine we have access to,” he said, adding: “We do have options in case the South African variant is found in Nigeria.”
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation with 200 million citizens, has reported 139,748 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 1,667 deaths.