Nigeria Loses Bid to Get COVAX Pfizer Vaccines

February 6, 2021
COVAX Pfizer Vaccines

By Adedapo Adesanya

Nigeria has reportedly been axed from the list of countries eligible to get Pfizer vaccines from the World Health Organisation (WHO)-COVAX global initiative.

According to a report by Punch on Saturday, Nigeria, which is the most populous nation in Africa, lost its bid to benefit from the scheme following its inability to meet the standard requirement of storing the vaccines at the required -70 degrees Celsius.

The global health body was said to have disclosed that only four countries could get the vaccines due to them meeting the criteria.

It was said that the Director of WHO for African Region, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, said that Nigeria failed to make the list of African countries that were shortlisted for the Pfizer vaccine out of the 13 that applied.

Dr Moeti said WHO could not risk the Pfizer vaccines being wasted.

She said, “Around 320,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have been allocated to four African countries – Cape Verde, Rwanda, South Africa and Tunisia.

“This vaccine has received WHO Emergency Use Listing but requires countries to store and distribute doses at minus 70 degrees Celsius.

“To access an initial limited Pfizer vaccine volume, countries were invited to submit proposals. Thirteen 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 vaccine’s ultra-cold chain needs.

“This announcement allows countries to fine-tune their planning for COVID-19 immunisation campaigns. We urge African nations to ramp up readiness and finalise their national vaccine deployment plans.

“Regulatory processes, cold chain systems and distribution plans need to be in place to ensure vaccines are safely expedited from entry ports to delivery. We can’t afford to waste a single dose.”

Last month, the Nigerian government had stated that it was expected to receive 100,000 doses through the COVAX initiative, which was set up to ensure rapid and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries, regardless of income level.

While countries like South Africa, Egypt, and Morocco on the continent have started obtaining vaccines and started the vaccination process, Nigeria is yet to get any of the vaccines that her counterparts have gotten even as cases continue to rise daily.

According to the latest infection figures, Nigeria on Friday recorded 1,624 new cases of COVID-19 and nine deaths from the virus, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

While the 1,624 infections raised the cases in the country to 137,654 in total, the nine deaths took the total fatalities to 1,641.

Nigeria’s daily COVID-19 infections have averaged over 1,000 since the beginning of this year, indicating how fast the disease has spread compared to when the country recorded its first case of the virus in February last year.

There has been a spike in daily cases in Nigeria since early last December. The adverse impact has been more deaths.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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