Nigeria has received 4,400,000 doses of Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines donation from the Government of Spain.
While handing over the vaccines to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) today (May 24, 2022) in Abuja, Spain’s ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Juan Ignatio Sell, disclosed this was the largest COVID-19 donation to any African nation.
Sell said that the donation was in fulfillment of his country’s commitment to supporting developing countries in ramping up vaccination against COVID-19.
“In 2020, the world was faced with the challenge to develop an effective vaccine. In 2021 the challenges evolved to the production and distribution of the vaccines. Today in 2022, we need to put these vaccines within people’s reach.
“As we want to leave the acute phase of the pandemic behind, we dare not linger and there are lessons to be learned. One of them is the need to improve global mechanisms for technology transfer to decentralise the production of health products in all regions, Africa in particular. That is why Spain has joined the WHO Technology Access Group.
“Also, that is why the EU has launched a Team Europe Initiative on manufacturing and access to vaccines, medicines and health technologies in Africa, with €1billion. That will benefit Nigeria.
“We need to protect, safeguard and invest in health and health workers. This is the effort line that Spain is co-leading in the framework of the Global Action Plan and we have committed €300million for further donations and projects to strengthen public health systems,” he advised.
Receiving the donation on behalf of the Nigerian government, the NPHCDA executive director, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, appreciated the Spanish government for the donation. He said the gesture came at a time the country needed it most.
Shuaib called on eligible Nigerians yet to be vaccinated to do so. “If we keep up with the vaccination, the likely scenario is that even though the virus continues to evolve, the severity of the disease will reduce over time as the immunity increases due to vaccination.”
Others who spoke at the event included the EU Ambassador to Nigeria, as well as the country representatives of the WHO and UNICEF.