By Hannatu Sadiq
The United States has said it will ship nearly 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Nigeria and South Africa to support the countries’ battles with the third wave of covid-19.
White House officials said four million doses of the Moderna (MRNA.O) COVID-19 vaccine will go to Nigeria and 5.66 million doses of the Pfizer (PFE.N) vaccine to South Africa.
According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Nigeria has confirmed 171,728 cases of COVID-19 in total with 4,747 still active. 164,847 have been discharged and 2, 134 deaths recorded.
The South Africa shipment is the single largest sent by the United States since it began sending vaccine shots overseas, one of the officials said. The latest shipments bring the total number of U.S. vaccine doses sent to Africa to 16.4 million.
African countries have so far administered 60 million vaccine doses to a population of over 1.3 billion. The slow progression of vaccination is partly due to restrictions on shipments from vaccine-producing countries like India.
The White House said equitable global access to safe and effective vaccines was essential to ending the pandemic.
With the latest shipment to Nigeria and South Africa, the United States will exceed the 80 million vaccine doses that U.S. President Joe Biden had pledged in May to donate to countries around the world, one of the officials said.
“We are working to get as many safe and effective vaccines to as many people around the world as fast as possible,” one of the White House officials told Reuters.
In June, US President Biden announced plans to buy and donate 500 million Pfizer vaccine doses to 92 low- and lower-middle-income countries and the African Union.
These shipments will begin next month according to a white House official.