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People who have just been vaccinated at a Covid-19 mass vaccination centre run by the Nigerian government in Abuja earlier this month. Photograph: Kola Sulaimon / AFP via Getty Images
A consignment of 500,000 Covid-19 vaccines donated by Ireland arrived in Nigeria on Monday. It is the state’s second significant overseas vaccine donation, following a recent delivery of more than 300,000 vaccines to Uganda.
The 500,000 Janssen vaccines are part of the 1.3 million vaccine doses Ireland has committed to donate through the Covax facility this year as part of a major scale up of the global vaccination campaign.
COVAX (Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access) is a worldwide initiative co-led by Gavi – the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and the WHO to ensure equal access to the vaccines everywhere. In particular, it is about improving such access for low and middle-income countries.”
Its initial aim is to have 2 billion doses available by the end of this year, enough to protect high risk and vulnerable people as well as frontline healthcare workers in those countries.
The single dose Janssen vaccines donated by Ireland will support a national vaccine rollout in Nigeria where the vaccination rate is below 2 per cent.
The WHO had indicated that a global vaccination rate of 70 per cent is needed by mid-2022 if the spread of the disease is to be stopped and the risk of further mutations in the virus is to be reduced.
Ireland has also committed €7 million in financial support for Covax which has already delivered over 500 million vaccine doses to 144 participants worldwide.
Over 80 per cent of vaccines delivered to low income countries has been through the Covax facility. Ireland plans to make further vaccine donations through Covax in coming weeks.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said today’s donation to Nigeria represented “Ireland’s continued commitment to universal access to Covid-19 vaccines and their fair and equitable distribution as we work together to bring this global pandemic under control”.
Minister for Overseas Development Aid and the Diaspora Colm Brophy added that “everyone should have access to a Covid-19 vaccine, no matter where they live”.
Ireland had “a long-standing relationship with Nigeria and we are happy to support their efforts to keep their people safe,” he said. “Improving the numbers of people vaccinated worldwide is essential to getting the pandemic under control.”
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