From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The United States Government, yesterday, welcomed the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines to the country.
The United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria, in a message on its Facebook page, said it stood with Nigeria in the face of the pandemic.
The United States disclosed that over 60 of its staff were working on a daily basis on COVID-19 response, vaccine rollout, among others.
“The U.S. joins in welcoming the arrival of the COVID19 vaccine to Nigeria. We stand with Nigeria in the face of the pandemic, with over 60 staff working on a daily basis on COVID-19 response and vaccine roll out; epidemiology; outbreak response; lab operations and data analytics,” the United States said.
The United States further said it contributed $2 billion to COVAX with another $1.5 billion promised.
“We must work to finance health security; strengthen global health systems and create early warning systems to prevent, detect and respond to future biological threats because they will keep coming,” the United States also said.
On its part, the United Kingdom said so far, it has committed up to £829 million for the development of COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and diagnostics and their distribution to developing countries.
In a statement issued in Abuja by the Head of Communications, British High Commission, Abuja, Dean Hurlock, the United Kingdom said it galvanised the efforts because it wanted to be a force for good in the world.
The United Kingdom recalled that it was one of the first countries to back COVAX, adding that to date, it has committed £548 million to COVAX to ensure global access to vaccines and has consistently called on other donors to step up their support.
Reacting to the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines, the Development Director at the British High Commission, Dr Christopher Pycroft, said: “We’re proud to be one of the biggest donors to COVAX, securing over one billion doses for the most vulnerable people in countries around the world. We do it because we want to be a force for good in the world, and because we need a global solution to a global pandemic. Today, with UK aid support, people in Nigeria will be amongst the first to receive vaccinations through COVAX – the biggest ever global vaccine campaign to end the pandemic.”
Also, the European Union (EU), in a statement on its Facebook page, said it was the lead contributor to the COVAX scheme.
The EU also said its team mobilised €38.5bn in response to the COVID-19 outbreak worldwide, of which €8 billion for Africa.
“It is an EU priority to help end the pandemic by enabling equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines. Today’s delivery takes us another step closer to this goal,” the Head of Cooperation, EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms. Cecile Tassin-Pelzer who represented the EU at the event said in a goodwill message.
Also welcoming the news of the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines was the German Government.
In a message on its Facebook page, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany said: “Today, Germany welcomes the arrival of the first number doses of vaccines to Nigeria through COVAX. With 1.2 billion euro, Germany is the single biggest donor to ACT-Accelerator and COVAX. The aim of COVAX is to distribute two billion vaccine doses in 2021, in order to vaccinate the most vulnerable 20 percent of the global population – first of all: healthcare workers and risk groups.”
Also reacting to the arrival of the vaccines, the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Abhay Thakur, said the supply of the vaccines to Nigeria was in keeping with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment made at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September, 2020, that “India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help humanity in fighting COVID-19.”
The Indian High Commission in Abuja, in a statement issued by Vipul Mesariya of its Political and Information Section, said India will be gifting 100,000 doses of Covishield vaccines to Nigeria shortly, and 200,000 doses to UN peacekeepers, that includes many African military personnel.
“A large consignment of 3.92 million doses of Covishield vaccine from the Serum Institute of India (SII) arrived at the Abuja airport today, under the Covax scheme of GAVI. The Covishield vaccine is the first COVID-19 vaccine approved by NAFDAC, and it is the first lot of vaccines to reach Nigeria. It is also among the single largest consignments of vaccines shipped out of India. Nigeria is among the first few countries in Africa to receive the vaccine. In addition, India will be gifting 100,000 doses of Covishield vaccines to Nigeria shortly, and 200,000 doses to UN peacekeepers, that includes many African military personnel.
“On this occasion, High Commissioner Abhay Thakur stated that the supply of vaccines to Nigeria is in keeping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment, made at the UNGA in September 2020, that ‘India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help humanity in fighting Covid-19.’ India-Nigeria ties are ageold, based on close friendship and mutual trust. The arrival of Covid-19 vaccines in Nigeria marks yet another milestone in our bilateral relations.
“India has been at the forefront of the global fight against the pandemic and supports a collective approach in this battle. Guided by this philosophy, India, as the Pharmacy of the World, has supplied millions of doses of vaccines to many countries spread across the globe. As on 1 March 2021, India has supplied 36.369 million doses of Made-in-India vaccines to 36 countries and will be supplying to another 15 countries soon. At a UNSC meeting on 17 February 2021, External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar had reiterated India’s approach and called for ‘vaccine internationalism’. India’s commitment to deploy its capabilities for the health and well-being of the entire humanity is not limited to vaccine supply alone, and it has provided critical medicines, ventilators and PPE kits to more than 150 countries, including Nigeria, Benin and Chad.”