The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has rejected COVID-19 vaccine doses donated by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to Nigeria because the vaccines will expire in less than six months.
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The Executive Director of the NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, disclosed this in Abuja, while presenting a paper on “Status of COVID-19 Vaccine Roll-Out, Delivery, Uptake, Challenges, and Potential Areas Where Advocacy is Needed.”
The occasion is a two-day Strategic Advocacy Retreat on COVID-19 and Health Security in Nigeria.
He added that the country has a standard of rejecting vaccines with expiration dates of less than six months.
Dr Shuaib, represented by the Director, Planning Research and Statistics at NPHCDA, Dr Abdullahi Bulama Garba, said the development is to further demonstrate the agency’s high standards in its operations within the country.
“The work that we do is the work that requires trust. It is a sacred trust that has been bestowed on us by Nigerians and we hold that trust to be true.
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“We pride in that trust very jealously. This is why we did not accept the vaccine doses that had less than six months to expiration. The vaccines from Gavi were five months to their expiration date, so we can’t take such vaccines because they did not meet the country’s standard,” he stressed.
He said that the agency was working with partners to ensure that the country vaccinates 50 per cent of the eligible population by March 2022; and 70 per cent by June 2022, noting that it was also working to deliver vaccines to the states.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria, through the NPHCDA, Federal Ministry of Health and partners, plans to achieve 50 per cent coverage of COVID-19 vaccination by the end of the first quarter of 2022; and vaccinate all eligible populations by end of 2022 to achieve herd immunity.
“Considering the high influx of vaccines expected in 2022, and the need to quickly protect the vulnerable population against COVID-19, the country has ramped-up COVID-19 vaccines uptake.
“The NPHCDA, working collaboratively with other Government MDAs and development partners, has deployed the S.C.A.L.E.S strategy to ensure that all COVID-19 vaccines received by the country are equitably distributed and efficiently used within the shortest time frame.
“The COVID-19 vaccination strategy team meets daily and has been proactive in taking immediate actions to ensure challenges are effectively mitigated. There is progressive improvement in the daily utilisation rates reporting, however, more is desired,” he explained.
He disclosed that over 62 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been received from various donors so far in the country, with 42 million expected to be received before the end of the second quarter of 2022.
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“Total doses of COVID-19 vaccine received from March 2021 till date is 16,230,960.
“Description of Quantity Expected 41,847,880 doses. The federal government has received a commitment for the supply of 6,962,400 doses of Moderna vaccines from the US Government/COVAX.
“This is being expected within the next one week. The government has received a commitment for the donation of 2,407,600 doses of AstraZeneca /Covishield vaccines. This is being expected within the next two weeks.
“13,392,000 doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccines procured by the Federal government will be shipped before the end of February 2022, while an additional 23 million doses of the J&J vaccines will be shipped to Nigeria in batches in the next few months.
“10,089,600 doses of J&J vaccines donated by the COVAX facility will be shipped to Nigeria before the end of the first quarter of 2022. The 62,270,980 in the country were: 16,230,960 – Moderna, 19,482,240 – AstraZeneca, 10,980,400 – J&J, and 15,577,380 – Pfizer,” he stated.
Dr Shuaib added that the incoming vaccines would come from COVAX or be procured by the government through the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team and AfreximBank facility.
“The majority of the vaccines were donated by the COVAX facilities and the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVAT),” he added.
The NPHCDA said that strategic approaches to reduce hesitancy and increase uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine were targeted towards advocacy, intensive media engagement, and community engagement.