By Moses Emorinken, Abuja

The Federal Government on Tuesday formally received the 100,000 doses of the Covishield COVID-19 vaccine promised by the Government of India.

The Covishield vaccine, which is the AstraZeneca vaccine produced by Serum Institute of India, and certified safe and effective by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has a 63 per cent effectiveness rating against the virus.

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Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on covid-19 Boss Mustapha during his briefing in Abuja, said: “As you are aware, Nigeria received 3.92 million doses of the COVID-19 Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine on 2nd March, 2021. These vaccines represented the first tranche of about 16 million doses allocated to Nigeria through the COVAX facility, aimed at vaccinating an initial 20 per cent of the population.

“More vaccines are also expected from the African Union’s Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT). During this briefing, we shall also be receiving about 100,000 doses of Covishield vaccines donated by the Government of India to Nigeria. This will further boost the number of Nigerians to be vaccinated by about fifty-thousand.

“The PTF through the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) prioritised the initial consignment of vaccines to cover frontline medical personnel, strategic leadership, and those above the age of 50 years across the nation.

“Majority of sub-national entities have already received their allocation and administration is progressing. As of April 5, 2021, 963,802 persons, in Nigeria, had received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.  The overarching objective is to vaccinate 70 per cent of Nigeria’s population between 2021 and 2022.”

In his remarks, the Indian High Commissioner in Nigeria, Shri Abhay Thakur, said: “These 100,000 doses of vaccines, manufactured at the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturing facility, arrived at the Abuja airport from Mumbai via Addis Ababa on 26 March 2021 at 1200 hrs. The consignment was delivered to the NPHCDA by the High Commission of India.”

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