Over 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered in Nigeria

A medical syringe and a vial in front of the COVAX word are seen in this creative illustrative photo. More than one hundred fifty COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine are in development across the world, several of which have the third phase of clinical trials, as media reported. (Photo illustration by STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

More than 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Nigeria since the country launched its vaccination program in March, the country’s health authorities said.

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency tweeted that as of Thursday, 1,051,096 shots had been administered in 36 states and the federal capital territory.

The West African country has set an ambitious goal of vaccinating 40 percent of its over 200 million people before the end of 2021, and 70 percent by the end of 2022, for the country to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19.

Nigeria kicked off its vaccination campaign on March 5, starting with healthcare workers mostly at risk of infections.

Nigeria received a delivery of 3.94 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines on March 2 through COVAX, a WHO-backed effort aimed at achieving equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. The delivery is part of an overall plan for 16 million doses to be delivered to Nigeria in batches over the next few months.

According to the official News Agency of Nigeria, last month the country received another 300,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines donated by local telecoms giant MTN, while the government of India also delivered 100,000 doses of vaccine to Nigeria earlier this month.

With only about 4.4 million doses available in the country, Nigeria is still far from reaching its set targets for vaccination, say health experts.