By Bukar Bolori
The United Kingdom (UK) has donated another 592,880 COVID-19 vaccine doses to Nigeria, bringing the total to 1,292,640 doses given to the African country by the European country in August alone.
A statement on Friday said the vaccines are part of the over five million doses of UK-donated vaccines to 11 countries across Africa since the start of August 2021.
The UK has pledged to share 80 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines with the COVAX Facility, as part of a broader pledge to share 100 million doses with the rest of the world.
The statement read: “Today (Friday), Nigeria received another 592,880 doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine donated to Nigeria 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.
“These vaccines delivered to Nigeria are part of over five million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that the UK has donated through COVAX, the scheme designed to ensure equitable, global access to COVID-19 vaccines.”
The statement further read that: “This latest batch is part of the Senegal, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Pakistan. Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, 9 million COVID-19 vaccines the UK has donated around the world since the end of July 2021.”
The statement added that these UK-donated doses are part of a broader pledge to share 100 million vaccines with the rest of the world by June 2022, noting that 80% 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, was said to have made the pledge at the UK-hosted G7 Leaders’ Summit earlier this year.
The UK has 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, and 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 aimed to deliver 1.8 billion vaccines to lower-income countries by early 2022, according to the statement.
The statement further revealed that the UK has also invested £90 million to support the development of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, with 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.
The statement said “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.”
Acting British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Gill Atkinson, was quoted in the statement to have 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.”
On his part, the CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Dr. Seth Berkley,, was quoted to have 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, are protected against the virus.”