South Africa Secures Deal to Manufacture COVID-19 Vaccine

Posted by News Express | 13 August 2021 | 666 times

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•Covid-19 vaccine

 

South Africa has become the first African country ahead of Nigeria and others to broker a business deal to commence the manufacture of the Johnson and Johnson variant of COVID-19 vaccine in the continent.

The cheering news came just as Nigeria formally took delivery of the 177,600 doses of Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine procured through the African Union collaborative venture with the AfriExim Bank.


This was disclosed by the representative of the Africa Center for Disease Control (CDC), Dr Amadou Cheick Tidiane Cissé, at the event to mark the formal delivery of the 2,177,600 doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccine to the National Strategic Cold Store, located near the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja on Monday.

Cissé, who was asked to give more details on the procurement of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, said: “The first batch of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine was manufactured in the United States, while subsequent doses will be manufactured in South Africa. Africa CDC encourages other African countries to try and manufacture COVID-19 vaccines because it is very important in the campaign against the COVID-19 virus.”

Cisse said it was a sign of hope that the continent would finally be able to close the vaccination gap of other parts of the world.

Cissé noted that these vaccines would help to save African lives and livelihoods and to resume their ways towards the continental development agenda.

According to him, since the beginning of the pandemic, which continues to devastate lives and livelihoods in Africa and globally, it has been clear that safe and efficacious vaccines are the only way out.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, commended the federal government, including the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC), Federal Ministry of Health and NPHCDA for the successful completion of the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout with the vaccination of the front-line workers and other priority groups who are at high risk of COVID-19

Mulombo said that in terms of the quality and efficiency of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, Nigeria is rated the fourth in the world.

“Today, we are witnessing the symbolic arrival of 177,600 Johnson & Johnson vaccines, another landmark event in Nigeria’s response to COVID-19 pandemic; widely acclaimed by many as one of the most successful so far.

“WHO had on many occasions, commended the government, including the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC), FMOH and NPHCDA for the successful completion of the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout with the vaccination of the front-line workers and other priority groups who are at high risk of COVID-19,” he said.

Molumbo said that Nigeria’s preparation for the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination, which involves more resources and logistics, is highly commendable.

He also commended a multi-sectorial approach adopted at different level of the government to address issues around COVID-19 vaccine hesitancies.

Mulombo also spoke on the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines, saying that it will be the game changer.

“But for the foreseeable future, we must continue wearing masks, physically distance and avoid crowds.

“Let me seize this opportunity to say that this pandemic still has a long way to run: Nigeria is experiencing a third wave and we need to work together to ensure that all preventive measures put in place are maximized to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on our lives,” he said.

He assured his audience that WHO will continue to support the country in reaching its targeted population with safe and effective vaccines.

Speaking while inspecting the first shipment of 177,600 of Johnson and Johnson vaccines doses from the African Union, a single-shot vaccines under the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT), the Executive Director of National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, said Nigeria is among the first 10 African countries to receive vaccines through the partnership and to benefit from a supply deal agreed in March 2021 to procure 220 million doses for the continent, with the potential to order another 180 million.

Shuaib said that contrary to insinuations, the single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine made by Johnson and Johnson is highly effective in preventing severe illness and death from the Delta and Beta variants of the coronavirus data obtained from a clinical trial in South Africa.

Shuaib said that the 177,600 doses would step up efforts to battle a third wave of infections across the country, noting that the single-shot COVID-19 vaccine was the first of its monthly supplies under an arrangement with AU nations.

“Nigeria took delivery of 177,600 doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccines, being part of the 29,850,000 doses that the Federal Government of Nigeria procured through the AVAT of the AU Commission through the facility provided by African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK).

“The balance of the vaccine will subsequently be delivered in monthly tranches. This batch of Johnson and Johnson vaccine will be focused on those who are in the hard-to-reach areas (riverine areas, desert areas and security-compromised areas), the elderly and frail individuals.

“This is because the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is administered as a single dose vaccine unlike the AstraZeneca and Moderna that require two doses for complete vaccination,” the ED NPHCDA said.

Also speaking, the representative of UNICEF in Nigeria, Dr Peter Hawkins, said that COVID-19 vaccines are the most important tool the world has against COVID-19.

Hawkins assured Nigerians that vaccination will provide better protection than natural immunity for adults previously infected with COVID-19, from getting re-infection.

He disclosed that the country is expected to receive another shipment of Oxford AstraZeneca Vaccine doses by next week.

(THISDAY)


Source: News Express

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