The federal government yesterday received 4,400,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines donated by the Government and people of Spain to Nigeria.
Speaking at the brief ceremony to mark the formal delivery of the vaccines by the Spanish government, the Executive Director of the National Primary HealthCare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib said 29,651,708 eligible persons had received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccines. This, he said represented 23.4 per cent of the eligible population.
He said the federal government was intensifying efforts to ensure that 70 per cent of the country's eligible population are vaccinated.
"It is in furtherance of this initiative and the commitment of the Government of Spain that we are here today to officially receive, on behalf of the federal government of Nigeria, 4,400,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines donated by the Government and people of Spain to Nigeria," he said.
Shuaib told the Spanish Ambassador, Juan Ignatio Sell, that the donation came when it was most needed as the country was rapidly ramping up full vaccination coverage.
He said the single-dose regimen of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine would enable the agency move rapidly towards achieving herd immunity.
Shuaib further gave update on COVID-19 vaccination saying: "As at today, the 24th of May 2022, 29,651,708 eligible persons have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccines, and this represents 23.4 per cent our eligible population. 14,179,966 persons have received the 2nd dose and 17,702,018 are fully vaccinated and represents 15.8% of our eligible population. 1,178,604 persons have received the booster dose."
Shuaib said the figures so far posted by the country was a far cry from the target of 70 per cent of the eligible population.
"However, these donations will help towards achieving our target. If we keep up with vaccination, the likely scenario is that even though the virus continues to evolve, the severity of the disease will reduce over time, as the immunity increases due to vaccination.
"But if majority of our eligible population in Nigeria and globally continue to remain unvaccinated, what we may see is that a more virulent and highly transmissible variant could emerge, sooner or later which would be worse than any variant seen."
Shuaib added that: "New estimates from the World Health Organisation (WHO) showed that the full death toll associated directly or indirectly with the COVID-19 pandemic which is described as excess mortality, between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2021 globally was approximately 15 million (range 13.3 million to 16.6 million).
"This means that we lost about 15million persons globally within two years as a result of the pandemic. This is heart wrenching," he said.
Copyright This Day. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com)., source News Service English