Nigeria to resume COVID-19 vaccinations on August 16

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Nigeria will restart COVID-19 inoculations on August 16 after taking delivery of 4 million doses of Moderna vaccine, with shipments of Johnson & Johnson shots also due imminently, the head of the primary healthcare agency said on Tuesday.

Nigeria has so far vaccinated only a tiny fraction of its population of 200 million, largely due to a lack of supply. The latest data, in June, showed that 2 million people had received one dose and 700 000 had received two.

The rollout of vaccines was halted on July 9 because supplies had run out.

The Moderna doses, which arrived in Nigeria from the United States last week, were being prepared for rollout, said Faisal Shuaib, executive director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency.

In particular, he said labels with barcodes were being prepared that would allow for efficient record-keeping of administered doses.

“We want to call on all Nigerians to remain assured that the vaccines that we have are safe and will be deployed next week,” Shuaib told reporters.

Since the start of the pandemic, Nigeria has recorded about 175,000 cases of COVID-19 and over 2,000 deaths, but the real figures could be much higher as testing is patchy.

The highly contagious Delta variant has recently been detected in the country and authorities have warned infections are rising.