BUA, one of Africa’s largest conglomerates, yesterday, said it has paid for one million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines for Nigeria through the AFREXIM Vaccine programme in partnership with CACOVID.
These doses of the vaccine, which should be delivered by next week, according to the firm, will be the first delivery of Vaccines to Nigeria since the COVID-19 vaccines became available.
This development effectively pushes Africa’s most populous nation to the front of the queue in vaccine procurement.
The Guardian had on Monday, reported that immunising more than 200 million Nigerians could gulp over N2 trillion, as the Federal Government might require N921.2 billion to vaccinate 140 million people in one year.
There have been concerns about Nigeria’s ability to obtain vaccines despite lofty targets by the Federal Government.
According to BUA, the vaccines will be distributed free to Nigerians at no cost.
Speaking on this development, Founder of BUA, Abdul Samad Rabiu thanked the President of the Afrexim Bank, Dr. Benedict Oramah for making the purchase possible and the Nigerian Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, for coordinating the process through the CACOVID Private Sector partnership.
According to him, “BUA decided to secure these 1million vaccines by paying the full amount for the vaccines today because these vaccines became available only last week through AFREXIM.
“We expect the vaccines to be delivered within the next 14 days and hope priority will be given to our frontline workers who have committed their lives to manage the pandemic.
“In addition to this, BUA is committing to purchase 5 million doses for Nigeria as soon as they become available through this same arrangement.”, Rabiu added.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Saturday that Nigeria and other African countries were not barred from accessing COVID-19 vaccines through the Global Assess Facility, COVAX.
COVAX, a WHO-backed programme, was set up to divide a billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines across 92 low and middle-income countries.
Speaking at a press briefing on Saturday, WHO Country Representative in Nigeria, Walter Mulombo, said the international health agency is supporting all countries to access vaccines as quickly as possible.