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UK gifts Nigeria 700,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines

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Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib (left); Acting British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Grill Atkinson; Director, Logistics and Health Commodities at NPHCDA, Kubura Daradara; and Country Lead, AstraZeneca Nigeria, Morris Nyarko, during the hand over of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Nigeria donated by the UK, in Abuja…yesterday. PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

Nigeria has received fresh 699,760 doses of AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccines against the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) from the United Kingdom. The vaccines are part of the three million doses of UK-donated vaccines to 11 countries across Africa.

UK had pledged to share 80 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines with COVAX, as part of a broader pledge to share 100 million doses with the rest of the world.

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The vaccines donated via the COVAX facility were flown into Abuja on Monday night. The vaccines were unveiled at a cold storage unit near the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.

Acting British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Gill Atkinson, joined the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative to Nigeria, Dr. Walter Mulombo, for the unveiling, alongside other dignitaries.

The UK had sent 119, 200 doses to Zambia and 51,840 to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on August 13. It also sent 119,040 doses to Malawi on August 14; 140,160 to Senegal on August 15; 299,680 to Egypt on August 16. Uganda is expecting 299,520 doses today.

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Lately, the UK has restructured its health and human development programmes to support Nigeria’s response and continues to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak across all nine pillars of the government’s incident action plans, through the UK Health Security agency, formerly the Public Health England (PHE), and FCDO’s Lafiya health programme in selected states, as well as direct technical engagement at the federal level.

This includes providing experts’ support for outbreak preparedness and response, helping increase testing capacity and strengthening the work of labs, and embedding staff in the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to provide technical support.

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UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, said: “Three million doses of UK-donated vaccines are now arriving in 11 countries across Africa, including Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, to help the fight against COVID-19. This is the first batch of 80 million being donated via COVAX – because we know that no one is safe until everyone is safe.

Acting British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Gill Atkinson, said: “The UK was one of the first countries to back COVAX with £548 million. We have consistently pushed for a global effort that helps every country receive the vaccine against COVID-19. I am so pleased to see Nigeria receive 699,760 doses, donated by the UK, in its second batch of the vaccine through COVAX. This is the first tranche of the 1,299,760 doses expected to be donated by the UK through COVAX. Only by vaccinating more people around the world can we bring an end to the pandemic.”

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