Nigeria began a second phase of nationwide coronavirus vaccinations Tuesday amid an upsurge in cases of the delta variant.
Authorities say 4,080,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine donated by the U.S. government will be distributed to citizens in coming weeks.
“We’re very hopeful that we’re going to meet the needs of most of the people that have been calling in,” said Ndaeyo Iwot, executive secretary of the Abuja Primary Healthcare Board. “Remember we’re still expecting more, the AstraZeneca, the Johnson and Johnson, they’re all coming in, it’s good news for us.”
Nigerian authorities aim to vaccinate 40 percent of its population, or 80 million people, by the end of this year and another 30 percent by the end of 2022.
But authorities say it is difficult to secure vaccine due to what they call hoarding by richer countries.
“It is important for every country to have access to the COVID-19 vaccines if we’re going to be able to eradicate COVID-19,” said Faisal Shuab, executive director at the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency. “There’s no such thing as the partial eradication. It’s important that there’s fair and equitable access to the vaccine so that as one global community we’re able to eradicate COVID-19.”
Nigeria, like other countries, is currently grappling with an upsurge in coronavirus cases caused by the deadly delta variant.
In March, Nigeria received nearly four million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through the WHO-funded COVAX facility, an international aid initiative that seeks to ensure global access to vaccine.
Last month, Nigerian lawmakers approved some $2.4 billon in additional funding to help the government procure COVID-19 vaccine, and equipment for the military.