South Africa has become the first African country ahead of Nigeria and others to broker a business deal to manufacture the Johnson and Johnson variant of Covid-19 vaccine on the continent, ThisDay newspaper reports.
The cheering news came just as Nigeria formally took delivery of the 177,600 doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccines procured through the African Union collaborative venture with the AfriExim Bank.
This was disclosed by representative of the Africa Center for Disease Control (CDC), Dr Amadou Cheick Tidiane Cissé, at the event to mark the formal delivery of the 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, 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”.
He also said it was a sign of hope that the continent would finally be able to close the vaccination gap with other parts of the world.
World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, also 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 roll-out with the vaccination of the front-line workers and other priority groups, who are at high risk of Covid-19.
Mulombo said in terms of the quality and efficiency of the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out, Nigeria was rated the fourth in the world.
Mulombo also spoke on the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines saying it would 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 3rd 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
“Nigeria took delivery of 177,600 doses of Johnson & 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 vaccines 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 & 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.