The Government of Spain has donated 4,400,000 doses of Johnson and Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccines to Nigeria.
The Spanish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Juan Sell, said during the handover of the vaccines to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) on Tuesday in Abuja that “this is the largest COVID-19 donation to any African nation.”
Sell said that the donation was in fulfilment of Spain’s commitment to supporting developing countries in ramping up vaccination against COVID-19.
He added that “in 2020, the world was faced with the challenge to develop an effective vaccine. In 2021, the challenge evolved to the production and distribution of vaccines. Today in 2022, we need to put these vaccines within peoples’ reach.
“As we want to leave the acute phase of the pandemic behind, we cannot linger, and there are lessons to be learnt.
“One of the lessons is the need to improve global mechanisms for technology transfer to decentralise the production of health products in all regions, Africa in particular. And that is why Spain has joined the WHO Technology Access Group.
“And that is also why the EU launched Team Europe Initiative on manufacturing and access to vaccines, medicines and health technologies in Africa, with one billion euros, and that will benefit Nigeria.
“We need to protect, safeguard and invest in health and health workers, and this is the effort line that Spain is co-leading in the framework of the Global Action Plan, and we have committed 300 million euros for further donations and projects to strengthen public health systems.”
Dr Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of NPHCDA, who received the donation on behalf of the Federal Government, thanked the Spanish Government, saying the gesture came at a time when the country needed it most.
Shuaib used the opportunity to call on eligible Nigerians who were yet to be vaccinated to do so.
According to him, continued vaccination will create a scenario that will ensure that even when the virus continues to evolve, the severity of the disease will reduce over time as human immunity increases due to vaccination.
Newsmen reports that EU Ambassador to Nigeria, WHO and UNICEF country representatives all commended Nigeria in its efforts to vaccinate eligible Nigerians.