Ireland donates 500,000 vaccines to Nigeria

Ireland donates 500,000 vaccines to Nigeria

A CONSIGNMENT of 500,000 COVID-19 vaccines donated by Ireland has arrived in Nigeria.

This is the first consignment of vaccines donated by Ireland through the COVAX facility, a global initiative aimed at providing equal access to vaccines for all countries in the world.

The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, noted that this is Ireland’s second significant vaccine donation in recent months following the recent delivery to Uganda.

Minister Donnelly said:

"Following Ireland’s recent direct donation of over 300,000 vaccines to Uganda, I welcome the first deliveries of vaccine doses donated through the COVAX process.

"This significant donation of 500,000 vaccines to Nigeria represents 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 TD, said:

"I believe that everyone should have access to a COVID-19 vaccine, no matter where they live. As we know from our own experience, vaccines significantly reduce risk of serious illness.

"Improving the numbers of people vaccinated worldwide is essential to getting the pandemic under control. Ireland has a longstanding relationship with Nigeria and we are happy to support their efforts to keep their people safe.

"We have committed to sharing 1.3 million vaccine doses with other countries through COVAX as we play our part in the global response to this pandemic."

The donation of the 500,000 Janssen vaccines forms part of Ireland’s commitment to donate 1.3 million vaccine doses through the COVAX facility this year as part of a major scale up of the global vaccination campaign.

The vaccines will support the national vaccine rollout in Nigeria where the vaccination rate is below 2%.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had indicated that a global vaccination rate of 70% is needed by mid-2022 to stem the spread of the disease and reduce the risk of further mutations in the virus.

COVAX was established as the collaborative mechanism to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines everywhere, and with a particular emphasis upon improving access for low- and middle-income countries.

The WHO has said that to date, over 90 million donated doses have been delivered to the continent of Africa via the COVAX and the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT).

However, it said the "the majority of the donations to-date have been ad hoc, provided with little notice and short shelf lives."

"This has made it extremely challenging for countries to plan vaccination campaigns and increase absorptive capacity. To achieve higher coverage rates across the continent, and for donations to be a sustainable source of supply that can complement supply from AVAT and COVAX purchase agreements, this trend must change."

It suggested that countries begin to donate vaccines in large volumes and in a predictable manner, and that the vaccines have a minimum shelf life of ten weeks once they arrive in the country of destination, among other measures.