The federal government yesterday received another 592,880 doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine donated by the UK via the COVAX Facility.

This brings the total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses donated to Nigeria from the UK through COVAX to 1,292,640 doses in August alone, according to a statement by the UK.

These vaccines delivered to Nigeria are part of over five million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that the UK donated through COVAX, the scheme designed to ensure equitable, global access to COVID-19 vaccines.

This latest batch was part of the 9 million COVID-19 vaccines the UK donated around the world since the end of July 2021. Recipient countries include Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Senegal, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Pakistan.

The statement said, “These UK-donated doses are part of a broader pledge to share 100 million vaccines with the rest of the world by June 2022. 80 per cent of these doses will be shared through the COVAX Facility, with 30 million due to be sent by the end of 2021.”

The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, made this pledge at the UK-hosted G7 Leaders’ Summit earlier this year, according to the statement.

It added that the UK had led the international response to COVID-19, including through kick-starting efforts to establish the COVAX Facility in 2020, providing £548 million to fund vaccines for lower income countries. “So far, the COVAX Facility has delivered more than 152 million vaccine doses to over 137 countries and territories, including in 83 lower-middle income countries. COVAX aims to deliver 1.8 billion vaccines to lower-income countries by early 2022.”

The UK also invested £90 million to support the development of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. “Over a billion doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine have been delivered at a non-profit price globally, with two-thirds going to lower- and middle-income countries.

“As one of the largest COVAX donors, the UK continues to play a global role in promoting an effective roll-out of the vaccine. In Nigeria, we are supporting a Nigerian-led response and work closely with Nigerian-based partners, including UNICEF, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHDCDA) and the World Health Organisation.”

The statement quoted the Acting British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Gill Atkinson to had said: “The UK continues to promote global efforts to help every country receive the vaccine against Covid-19. I am so pleased to see Nigeria receive an extra 592,880 doses donated by the UK, which brings the total this month to 1,292,640 doses. This will help Nigeria meet its urgent need for vaccines. Only by vaccinating more people around the world can we bring an end to the global coronavirus pandemic.”

Also, Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, said: “These latest shipments of U.K.-donated doses means more people will benefit from life-saving vaccines. We thank Britain for its support for COVAX and its objective to make sure the most vulnerable, everywhere, is protected against the virus.”

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