Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, World Health Organisation(WHO) envoy on Covid-19 has said vaccines from COVAX, one of the three pillars to Access COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator launched in April by the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Commission and France in response to the pandemic would arrive in February.
As at now, with the scramble going on, the COVAX facility has been able to contract 1.9 billion doses of vaccines for all these countries and 88 countries have put in their request from all over the world, of this 88, 42 are African countries. In the assessment twelve of the African countries have said they are ready to receive vaccines now and I am happy to say Nigeria is one of them.
What we are trying to do is with COVAX, is to try as quickly as feasible is to get vaccines to the (African) continent. COVAX expects that by the first quarter of this year and hopefully starting maybe late February, actual physical quantities of vaccines will begin to get to those countries that are ready and the aim is to send vaccines that will vaccinate twenty per cent of the population, beginning with twenty per cent. The prioritization is for frontline workers, those who are dealing with the medical issues to be vaccinated first and then the rest of the population according to criteria to be agreed by the government.
Of those vaccines, AstraZeneca vaccines which are easier to distribute because they don’t require such cold conditions are good for our country, so we hope to get AstraZeneca. Also, we are looking at Novavax, Johnson & Johnson as well as Pfizer. So those are the vaccines that are in play right now that are being discussed and contracted for delivery when the time comes
COVAX is led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO with an aim to accelerate the development and manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccines and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world. Dr Iweala is the Board Chair of Global Vaccine Alliance GAVI, a public-private global health partnership with the goal of increasing access to immunisation in poor countries.