NIGERIA – Nigeria is set to receive an additional US$33 million from the United States (US) through the Initiative for Global Vaccine Access (Global VAX) to boost COVID-19 vaccination across the country.

Global VAX is a US government effort to accelerate vaccine uptake towards the global goal to vaccinate 70 percent of the world population against COVID-19 in 2022.

As part of Global VAX, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) plans to provide further resources in Nigeria to bolster cold chain supply and logistics, address vaccine confidence and demand as well as increase the accessibility of vaccination sites.

The initiative will also support Nigeria’s existing vaccination plans and will help get vaccines to people quickly, safely and equitably. 

In December 2021, the U.S. government announced that it would provide an additional US$315 million for Global VAX bringing the total US government commitment to vaccine readiness and delivery to more than US$1.7 billion.

The US is the largest donor to COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) and has supplied over 21.7 million vaccine doses to Nigeria as well as technical and logistical support.

Since 2020, the United States provided US$143 million to support Nigeria’s COVID-19 response and Global VAX reinforces the US government’s international vaccine support in the African nation.

USAID Assistant Administrator for Global Health Dr. Atul Gawande announced the US partnership with the Nigerian government aimed at increasing the uptake of COVID-19 vaccines.

We are calling on other countries to engage further and contribute expertise and resources to identify and rapidly overcome vaccine access barriers experienced by communities around the world especially in Africa,” he further said.

COVAX delivers 400m COVID-19 vaccine doses to 51 African countries

Recently, COVAX co-led by Gavi – the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations celebrated the milestone of delivering about 400 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to 51 African countries.

Dr. Seth Berkley, Chief Executive Officer of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, said that Ghana became the first country outside India to receive COVID-19 vaccine doses which were shipped via the COVAX Facility.

It was a historic step toward COVAX’s goal to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines globally in the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history,” he maintained.

He further said that the challenge was making sure those doses were being used to cover those at highest risk first because COVAX does follow the guidelines of WHO in terms of trying to protect those who were most vulnerable to disease.

However, the global project to share COVID-19 vaccines is struggling to place more than 300-million doses in the latest sign that the problem with vaccinating the world is now more about demand than supply.

As vaccine supply and donations ramp up, poorer African nations are facing hurdles such as gaps in cold-chain shortage, vaccine hesitancy and a lack of money to support distribution networks.

In January, COVAX had 436 million vaccines to allocate to countries but low-income nations asked for only 100 million doses for distribution by the end of May and for the first time in 14 allocation rounds supply has outstripped demand.

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