Nigeria has taken delivery of 3.94 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, the largest consignment yet received under the COVAX global vaccine initiative. This delivery is part of a first wave of arrivals that will continue in the coming months. Nigeria will receive 42 million doses of vaccine under the COVAX arrangement. Health Minister, Osagie Ehanhire, received the supply on behalf of the government and people of Nigeria before handing it over to the National primary Healthcare Agency for immediate deployment. Three other cabinet ministers, including the Ministers of Education, Adamu; Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Ms Sadiya Umar Farouq; and Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed witnessed the airport event.
The EU was represented at the event by the Head of Cooperation, EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms. Cecile Tassin-Pelzer. Other partners organisations, including the WHO, UNDP and UNICEF were also at the landmark event.
The EU is lead contributor to the COVAX scheme. Team Europe has mobilised €38.5bn in response to the COVID-19 outbreak worldwide, of which €8 billion for Africa.
"It is an EU priority to help end the pandemic by enabling equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines. Today's delivery takes us another step closer to this goal," Ms Tassin-Pelzer said in a goodwill message. Underlining the importance of global cooperation and solidarity to effectively fight the COVID-19 pandemic, ensure global and equitable access to vaccines, tests and treatments, and to start a sustainable global recovery, she said the EU is fully playing its part and has been leading the multilateral response.
According to her, “sharing vaccines with partners is not only about international solidarity but also in the EU’s own interest, to help break the vicious circle of new mutations and finally reduce the health risk for all.
To date, Team Europe has announced over €2.2 billion contribution to the COVAX facility to help secure 1.3 billion doses of vaccination for 92 low and middle-income countries, including Nigeria, by the end of the year. Team Europe has mobilised EUR 38.5 billion in response to the COVID-19 outbreak worldwide, of which €8 billion for Africa.
“To win the battle against this pandemic, immunisation needs to be accessible to all across the globe,” Ms. Tassin-Pelzer stated.
In Nigeria, the EU has been playing a key role in reaction to the COVID-19 crisis. We managed to quickly allocate €50 million to the One UN Basket Fund in response to COVID-19, launched to complement ongoing Government efforts. The Basket Fund has served as the One COVID-19 Financing and Investment Platform for diverse stakeholders, including the UN and other multilaterals, bilateral, private sector, foundations, philanthropists, among others, to channel their financial support to ensure an efficient, effective and impactful response to the pandemic.
The fund has supported rapid procurement of disease commodity packages for surveillance, prevention and control risk communication and community engagement strategies while strengthening State´s capacity in the detection, surveillance and optimum adherence to infection prevention and control measures. An interesting programme is as well strengthening the capacity of local MSMEs/manufacturers to produce high-quality PPEs and healthcare-related products.
Furthermore, since 2019, the EU has been actively supporting pandemic prevention and control in the ECOWAS region via its action “Support to the Regional Centre to Surveillance and Disease Control (RCSDC), which is the regional hub for a coordinated preparedness and response to public health events/emergencies in a project co-financed by the Government of Germany.
Team Europe has channelled over €10 million into the ECOWAS region for the COVID response as was witnessed last Friday in a handover ceremony attended as well by the Minister