According to recent records, Nigeria has attained a landmark of administering the COVID-19 vaccine to at least 10 percent of its population. This record has brought about the removal of Nigeria from the list of countries with the least administration of vaccine on a global scale in immunization. Ever since the provision of about four million vaccines, in March, 2021, no fewer than 10 percent of the over 200 million Nigerian population have been vaccinated against the deadly disease.
Nigeria’s achievement of vaccinating at least 10 percent of its population is through the fervent efforts of the Federal Government and its continuous carefully planned strategies towards the sustenance of the COVID-19 vaccination amidst competing health priorities. Nevertheless, this newly attained climax also has its roots in the recent launch of SCALES 2.0 which was designated for more improvement of coverage through additional campaigns, and many more. Succinctly, the Federal Government got its support from COVAX.
CoVDP focused on 34 countries below 10% coverage in January.
COVAX is the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator. The ACT Accelerator, a ground-breaking global collaboration, is for the acceleration of the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. COVAX is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the primary delivery partner, UNICEF. Likewise, WHO, UNICEF and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, launched the COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership (CoVDP) to support the AMC 92 economies and mostly focus on the 34 countries that were at or below 10 percent coverage in January, 2022.
In addition, WHO provides normative guidance on vaccine policy, regulation, safety, R&D, allocation, and country readiness and delivery. It develops evidence-based immunization policy recommendations, with the aid of its Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization. Likewise, it provides global coordination and member state support on vaccine safety monitoring. Also, together with COVAX partners, it has developed a no-fault compensation scheme as part of the time-limited indemnification and liability commitments. With UNICEF, it led the Country Readiness and Delivery workstream for the provision of support to countries during their preparedness to receive and administer vaccines.
The optimized SCALES 2.0 strategy improved routine immunization coverage.
Also for the equity in the administration of vaccines, the Gavi COVID-19 Vaccines Advance Market Commitment (COVAX AMC), an innovative financing tool, backs up the participation of 92 low and middle income economies in the COVAX facility. This is done by enabling them with the access to donor-funded doses of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. The AMC, with extra support for country readiness and delivery, will ensure that most vulnerable of all countries is protected within the short period, notwithstanding the income level.
The Director of COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery, Coordination and Integration at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which leads on procurement and delivery at scale for COVAX, Dr. Richard Mihigo, stressed the significance of the 10 percent vaccination coverage, putting the size of Nigeria, its population, competing health priorities, and routine immunization into consideration. According to him, the optimized SCALES 2.0 strategy has been essential to the fast and sustainable improvement in routine immunization coverage and integration of COVID-19 vaccination.
COVAX will not relent in its support of efforts in Nigeria.
As a result of the COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership, Gavi, UNICEF, and WHO, together with partners such as the African Union and World Bank, are providing coordinated, tailored support to governments, with focus on rapidly overcoming delivery bottlenecks to convert vaccines into vaccinations. Dr. Richard assured that COVAX will not relent in its support of efforts in Nigeria and across the continent, making use of the available supply and seizing the opportunity to achieve vaccine equity.