Pfizer-BioNTech and Astrazeneca vaccines expected in Africa in late January
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced on Wednesday that Nigeria and other African countries will receive COVID -19 vaccines come to the end of January 2021.
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has revealed this in Abuja while in a closed-door meeting with Geoffery Onyeama, the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
“As long as one person has it in the world, no one is safe. And that is why poorer countries, lower-middle-income countries like Nigeria, need to get it as quickly as possible”, she was quoted as saying.
Okonjo-Iweala is the African Union Special Envoy on mobilising international economic support for the continental fight against COVID-19 and Nigeria’s candidate for the Office of the Director-General of the World Trade Organization.
She revealed that the international initiative involved the World Health Organization, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), GAVI, and the international community, to get vaccines delivered to developing and poorer countries, in an affordable manner and quickly.
According to her, the Pfizer vaccine and the AstraZeneca were presently being negotiated so that poor countries don’t have to stand in a queue behind rich nations.
Okonjo-Iweala has warned African countries to avoid smugness, while she demonstrated Africa being blessed and not having the COVID-19 incidence rate as Western countries.
The former finance minister recounted:
“That a platform called the COVAX facility had been developed with 186 countries on board, saying that the side interested in serving the poor countries had 92 countries, for which resources have been raised to try and get the vaccines to them quickly”.
“So, the Pfizer vaccine, the AstraZeneca, those are being negotiated now so that poor countries don’t have to stand in line behind rich countries”.
“So, we hope they are starting by the end of January. We will be able to reach these countries, including most of the African countries, Nigeria included, will be able to get access to some of these vaccines”.
“Initially, it will be for frontline health workers, followed by some other target groups – older people, those with underlying conditions and then, from there, the rest of the population”.
“I think the COVAX facility can cover maybe 20-23 percent of the population by the end of next year”, Okonjo-Iweala said.