Half a million Covid-19 vaccines donated by Ireland through the COVAX facility have arrived in Nigeria.
The donation of 500,000 single-dose Janssen vaccines will support the national rollout in Nigeria where the vaccination rate is below two per cent, a joint statement from the Department of Health and Department of Foreign Affairs said.
It is the first consignment of vaccines donated by Ireland through COVAX, a worldwide initiative aimed at ensuring equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines that is directed by the Gavi Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The WHO has indicated that a global vaccination rate of 70 per cent is needed by mid-2022, if the world is to stem the spread of Covid-19 and reduce the risk of further mutations in the coronavirus.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said: “Following Ireland’s recent direct donation of over 300,000 vaccines to Uganda, I welcome the first deliveries of vaccine doses donated through the COVAX process.
“This significant donation of 500,000 vaccines to Nigeria represents Ireland’s continued commitment to universal access to Covid-19 vaccines and their fair and equitable distribution as we work together to bring this global pandemic under control.”
Minister for Overseas Development and Aid, Colm Brophy, said Ireland has committed to sharing 1.3 million vaccine doses through COVAX this year.
Ireland has furthermore committed €7 million in financial support for COVAX.
The facility has delivered over 500 million vaccine doses to 144 participants worldwide. More than 80 per cent of vaccines delivered to low-income countries have been facilitated via the COVAX facility.
Further vaccine donations through the COVAX facility will be made in the coming weeks, the Government statement added.