Nigeria approves Sinopharm COVID vaccine, expects 7.7 mln doses

PUBLISHED: Tue, 24 Aug 2021 17:34:24 GMT
Camillus Eboh
Reuters
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Vials of the Sinopharm’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine are pictured in Lima, Peru, February 9, 2021. REUTERS/Sebastian Castaneda

ABUJA, Aug 24 (Reuters) – Nigeria has recently approved China’s Sinopharm vaccine against COVID-19, the head of the country’s primary healthcare agency said on Tuesday.

Nigeria has been allocated 7.7 million doses of the vaccine through the COVAX scheme aimed at providing vaccines to developing countries.

Dr. Faisal Shuaib, head of Nigeria’s National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, did not say when the Sinopharm doses would arrive or be administered.

Cases are rising in Nigeria with daily new infections increasing 10 fold from levels seen in July, according to a Reuters tally.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with some 200 million people, has vaccinated only a small fraction of them, largely due to lack of supply. So far, some 2 million people, or 1% of the population, have received one dose of vaccine while fewer than 1 million have received two.

The rollout of vaccines, which had been halted on July 9 because supplies had run out after a first phase, resumed on Aug. 16.

During the first phase, Nigeria used doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine received through COVAX. It has since received supplies of Moderna’s vaccine donated by the United States, which are being used for the second phase.

Johnson & Johnson shots purchased by Nigeria via an African Union scheme are also expected to be used.

Nigeria has recorded 187,588 cases of COVID-19 and 2,276 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to official data, although the figures could be much higher given that only 2.7 million samples have been tested.

(Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Writing by Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Edmund Blair and Lisa Shumaker)

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