The World Health Organisation (WHO) says 16 million doses of Astra Zeneca vaccine have been allocated to Nigeria.
WHO Country Representative in Nigeria, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulomboo, said this at a joint news conference with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) on Saturday.
Reacting to the earlier WHO disqualification of Nigeria from getting the COVID-19 vaccine, Mulomboo said the reason is that Nigeria did not access COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX facility.
But the Nigerian government had earlier said it was expected to receive 100,000 doses through the COVAX initiative this month, which was set up to ensure rapid and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries, regardless of income level.
Mulomboo said Nigeria could not benefit from the first phase of the supply because the demand for the initial allocation of 1.2 million was high and only 18 countries, including four in Africa, got the vaccines.
The WHO’s Director of African Region, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, had earlier said during a virtual press conference on Friday that only four African countries – Cape Verde, Rwanda, South Africa and Tunisia – were shortlisted for the Pfizer vaccine out of the 13 that applied.
He said WHO-led COVAX global initiative has disqualified Nigeria from the Pfizer vaccines bid for failing to meet the standard requirement to store the COVID-19 vaccines at the required -70 degrees Celsius.
Mulomboo said all countries are expected to start accessing the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccines by the end of February, adding that the vaccine is under review by WHO for Emergency Use Listing and the outcome is expected soon.
He said 88 million AstraZeneca doses was allocated to Africa for the first phase, and Nigeria has the largest allocation.