Nigeria hopes to obtain up to 70 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine this year through the African Union (AU), Reuters reports quoting the Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib.
The West African country’s 162,762 infections are the sixth-highest recorded in Africa, while its 2,056 virus-related deaths are the tenth-highest on the continent.
With a population exceeding 200 million, containing COVID-19 in the country is seen as key in stemming continental and global infections.
Nigeria rolled out a mass vaccination drive earlier this month after receiving some 3.94 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine.
As the country looks for more vaccines for its population, Shuaib told Reuters orders of more AstraZeneca jabs were likely to be reduced due to delays. The Johnson & Johnson shots were likely to replace them.
“We’re hoping that we’ll be able to get up to 70 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson this year. This is yet to be finalized but these are some of the advanced conversations that are going on between Nigeria and the African Union,” he said in an interview.
A number of countries – mostly in Europe – have stopped administering the AstraZeneca shots either entirely or from specific batches, citing potential adverse effects including possible blood clots.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) have repeatedly given the jabs a green light to continue being administered, noting that the benefits outweigh the risks.
Shuaib noted that there was no evidence of adverse side effects in Nigeria and the AstraZeneca vaccine would continue to be used for eligible people aged 18 and above.