A consignment of 500,000 COVID-19 vaccines donated by Ireland arrived in Nigeria in what is the first shipment of vaccines donated through the COVAX facility to help developing countries.
The donation of 500,000 Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines is part Ireland’s commitment to donate 1.3 million vaccine doses through the COVAX Facility this year as part of a major scale up of the global vaccination campaign.
The Department of Health said the single dose Janssen vaccines will support the national vaccine rollout in Nigeria where the vaccination rate is below 2%. It said the World Health Organisation had indicated that a global vaccination rate of 70% is needed by mid-2022 if we are to stem the spread of the disease and reduce the risk of further mutations in the virus.
The Department said COVAX was established as the collaborative mechanism to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines everywhere, and with a particular emphasis upon improving access for low- and middle-income countries.
In addition to the 1.3 million doses of vaccines, the Department also said Ireland has committed €7 million in financial support for COVAX which it's claimed has deliver over 500 million vaccine doses to 144 participants worldwide. Over 80% of vaccines that have been delivered to low income countries have been facilitated via the COVAX Facility.
The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, noted that this is Ireland’s second significant vaccine donation in recent months.
“Following Ireland’s recent direct donation of over 300,000 vaccines to Uganda, I welcome the first deliveries of vaccine doses donated through the COVAX process. This significant donation of 500,000 vaccines to Nigeria represents Ireland’s continued commitment to universal access to COVID-19 vaccines and their fair and equitable distribution as we work together to bring this global pandemic under control,” he said.
The Minister for Overseas Development Aid and the Diaspora, Colm Brophy said everyone should have access to a COVID-19 vaccine, no matter where they live.
"As we know from our own experience, vaccines significantly reduce risk of serious illness. Improving the numbers of people vaccinated worldwide is essential to getting the pandemic under control. Ireland has a longstanding relationship with Nigeria and we are happy to support their efforts to keep their people safe. We have committed to sharing 1.3 million vaccine doses with other countries through COVAX as we play our part in the global response to this pandemic.”
Coordinated by Gavi - the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the WHO, COVAX acts as a platform that will support the research, development and manufacturing of a wide range of COVID-19 vaccine candidates, and negotiate their pricing.
All participating countries, regardless of income levels, will have equal access to these vaccines once they are developed. The initial aim is to have 2 billion doses available by the end of 2021, which should be enough to protect high risk and vulnerable people, as well as frontline healthcare workers.
Further vaccine donations through the COVAX Facility will be made by Ireland in the coming weeks.
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