The Nigerian government on Friday received 501,600 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines from the government of France.

The vaccines, which were delivered through the COVAX facility, a vaccine alliance aimed at ensuring equitable distribution of vaccines globally, arrived in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, on Monday.

The vaccines were received and stored at the country’s National Strategic Cold Store near the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.

Speaking during the inspection of the vaccines on Friday, the executive director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, said “France has not only been a dependable development ally to Nigeria but has been quite brotherly in all ramifications.”

“The donation of over half a million doses of AstraZeneca to Nigeria is a demonstration of France’s confidence in Nigeria’s capability as an active and progressive partner in the global fight to end the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Storage system

Mr Shuaib said Nigeria’s vaccine storage facilities have so far remained efficient and well maintained.

He said no standards are compromised in logistics requirements for effective management and utilisation of all COVID-19 vaccines available in the country .

He explained that the government has put in place the necessary measures to ensure monitoring and accountability of the vaccines.

“We track utilisation of all COVID-19 vaccines in all states of the Federation and receive daily reports from our senior supervisor and State Immunisation officers who are on the field to monitor the management and administration of the vaccines,” he said.

He reiterated the government’s commitment to safe, equitable, and effective COVID-19 vaccination of all eligible persons in the country.

He said the government will continue to work with development partners and engage with all to sustain transparency in the country’s vaccination program.

In his remarks, the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Jerome Pasquier, commended the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 for addressing the pandemic through procurement of vaccines and getting them across the country.

Mr Pasquier said he was happy that the French government was donating over half a million doses today and encouraged Nigerians yet to take the vaccine to do so.

“After 3 years in Nigeria, today happens to be my final assignment in Nigeria as I leave the country for France tomorrow, to begin my next assignment,” he said.

He noted that the French border is fully opened to Nigerians that are vaccinated.

“If you have a proof of vaccination, that will be said, you can go to France. You do not need to have a COVID-19 test before boarding the plane.

“You do not need to have a COVID-19 test, when you are in France, this is with your certificate from Nigeria, which is not required in some places around the world.”

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