The Federal Government has taken delivery of two million doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine donated by the European Union.
The handover of the vaccines was done on Monday at the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, National Strategic Cold Store, Abuja.
The EU ambassador, Mr. Samuela Isopi, who presented the vaccines, said the donation was part of the EU’s commitment to jointly combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, said the Federal Government also, in combating the pandemic, had procured over 39 million doses of the J&J vaccine, through the AFREXIM bank.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Federal Government in August 2021 took delivery of 177,600 J&J vaccines in Abuja, marking the first wave of arrivals of COVID-19 vaccines procured through the African Union.
In September 2021, additional 1,123,200 doses of the J&J vaccine were received, which the NPHCD said were part of the 39,800,000 doses procured by the Federal Government.
The single-shot J&J vaccine was received through the African Vaccine Acquisition Team (AVAT) of the African Union, a facility provided by Afri.
Shuaib said about 12 million doses of this single-shot vaccine were currently in the cold store.
According to him, the J&J vaccines will be given to those who are in the hard-to-reach areas (riverine areas, desert areas and security-compromised areas).
He said this was because the J&J vaccine required only a single dose for full vaccination, noting that by this, the health workers would be able to do what is called a ‘touch and go’ without compromising their safety.
He said the Federal Government was committed to a safe, equitable and effective COVID-19 vaccination programme.
“Let me also mention that the availability of different vaccine brands does not in any way mean that some categories of people are selected for high-quality vaccines while others are targeted for low-quality vaccines.
“All COVID-19 vaccines approved by the World Health Organisation are safe and can deliver adequate protection against the disease.
“While the choice of vaccine is left for eligible persons to make, it is important to note that no particular vaccine brand is preferable to the other,” he said.
The NPHCDA stated that the country had vaccinated 15,792,392 (14.1 per cent) of her eligible population with the first dose.
“We are using the platform of COVID-19 vaccination to also make available access to other primary healthcare interventions.
“We have been engaging with the poor performing states to identify areas where they would require more support from us and to also help them in identifying areas where they can improve in order to ramp up their vaccination coverage.
“Last week, we were in Enugu State where we engaged all the stakeholders in the five southeast states with our attention now focused on the states.
“We hope to see a more rapid vaccine coverage over the next couple of weeks,” he said.