Nigeria is expected to get its first batch of Covid-19 vaccines by the end of January as part of the plan to immunize 40% of its population against the virus this year and a further 30% next year. This was made known by the head of the Nigeria primary healthcare agency, Faisal Shuaib.
The first batch would contain 100,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, obtained through the global vaccine-sharing scheme known as Covax.
Mr. Shuaib stressed that Nigeria will first immunize the frontline health workers, first responders, national leaders, vulnerable people to the coronavirus and elderly people.
He added that the country hopes to get 42 million vaccines to cover one-fifth of its population through the scheme.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization set up the Covax scheme to help poorer countries obtain Covid-19 vaccines amid widespread concerns that wealthier nations would snap them up.
While in South Africa, the President Cyril Ramaphosa said last week that the country was expected to get vaccines through Covax scheme by the second quarter of 2021, following the initial payment of 283 million rand ($19.3; £14.1m).
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize subsequently said that the government was also in talks with private pharmaceutical companies to obtain vaccines by next month.
South Africa’s government has been under intense pressure to roll out an immunization programme following the discovery of a faster spreading variant of the virus.
South Africa has recorded more than 1.1 million Covid-19 cases, the highest in Africa.
Nigeria has so far recorded close to 100,000 cases. More than 1,200 new cases were recorded on Monday, its highest ever.
Nigeria has a population of abut 200 million, the biggest in Africa.