Nigeria may experience setback in COVID vaccine as SII postpones export of vaccine

 Nigeria may experience setback in COVID vaccine as SII postpones export of vaccine

By Modupe Shodeinde

There may be a hitch in the distribution of coronavirus vaccine in Nigeria as the main supplier of the COVAX facility, Serum Institute of India (SII), says it may not resume export of vaccine doses till the end of 2021.
Recall that Nigeria is currently a beneficiary of the United Nations-led COVAX facility which is facilitating the procurement of vaccines for African countries.
The AstraZeneca vaccine doses currently being distributed in the country are sourced from the SII.
According to the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, Nigeria is said to be expecting 58 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX and African Union AVATT platform.
Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), had also said the country should receive some vaccine doses via COVAX by the end of May or in June.
However, as a result of the surge in the infection rate in India, the SII in a statement on Tuesday said it will focus on boosting the vaccination drive for India.
According to SII, the decision to support other countries was taken at a time when the daily cases recorded in India were low.
“In the past few days, there has been an intense discussion on the decision of the government and Indian vaccine manufacturers, including the Serum Institute of India (SII) to export vaccines,” the statement reads.
“In January 2021, we had a large stockpile of vaccine doses. Our vaccination drive had started successfully and the number of daily cases being recorded were at an all-time low.
“Around the same time, many other countries in the world were facing an acute crisis and were in desperate need of help. Our government extended support wherever possible during this period.

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“We will not be safe till everyone globally is able to defeat this virus at a global scale. Further, as part of our global alliances, we also had commitments to COVAX, so that they could distribute the vaccines globally to end the pandemic.
“SII has delivered more than 200 million doses, even though we received EUA two months after the US pharma companies. If we look at total doses produced and delivered, we rank amongst the top three in the world. We continue to scale up manufacturing and prioritize India. We also hope to start delivering to COVAX and other countries by the end of this year.”
However, Nigeria has explored other options outside India, with 29 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine expected through the African Union.

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