US ships four million Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses to Nigeria

The highly contagious Delta variant could cause another setback in vaccine distribution in Nigeria, say experts

The U.S. government has sent four million doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Nigeria at a time when the West African nation is ramping up its efforts to battle the third wave of COVID. As per sources, the doses came in two planes and were received by UNICEF (UN children agency) officials at the airport of the capital Abuja on behalf of Nigeria.

Previously in March, four million COVID-19 vaccine doses were delivered to Nigeria, provided under the Covax scheme launched to ensure that the vaccines are distributed equally, especially to low-income countries.

According to recent statistics, approximately more than 80 million doses have been delivered to 129 territories under the scheme.

With around 210 million people, Nigeria has used the previously received four million doses of the AstraZeneca in March to begin its vaccination program in the nation.

Experts have alarmed that the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant could cause another setback in vaccine distribution if wealthier countries start requesting booster shots for already immunized persons, slowing shipments of desperately needed doses to developing countries.

The virus has diseased nearly 174,000 and killed around 2,149 people in Nigeria, but sources claim that the real numbers are much higher due to low testing rates.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control announced last month that it had discovered the Delta strain, alerting officials about the possibility of a third wave of virus in the country.

Passengers who are neither citizens nor permanent residents of Nigeria were prevented from entering the country in June if they had spent the previous 14 days in South Africa. The decision came after similar restrictions were put on travelers arriving from other countries like India, Turkey, and Brazil.

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