The Nigerian government on Sunday received four million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from the United States, as the country battles a third wave of infections, reported Africa News.
The doses, which came in two planes, were received by UNICEF officials on behalf of Nigeria at the airport in the capital Abuja.
It was the second batch of vaccines to arrive in Nigeria. The first batch of four million doses was delivered in March under the Covax initiative. Covax was set up to ensure all the countries get equitable access to vaccines, particularly low-income countries. The WHO-led scheme has already delivered more than 80 million vaccine doses to 129 territories.
Nigeria, which is home to some 210 million people, utilized the four million AstraZeneca vaccine doses to start its nationwide inoculation programme in March. Heath experts fear that the highly contagious Delta variant could pose another setback to vaccine distribution across the countries.
The Nigerian health authorities have reported over 174,000 coronavirus cases, including 2149 deaths. The real figures are, however, believed to be much higher, in part because of low testing rates. The country reported four hundred and seven new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, 1st of August.
Last month, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control confimred the detection of the highly contagious Delta variant in the country, putting officials on alert for a third wave of infections in the country.
The rising number of coronavirus cases is an indication that the government may be forced to declare another round of lockdown, halting movements and business activities, a decision that may further worsen the already battered economy.
In June, the Nigerian government banned travelers, who are not citizens or permanent residents of the country, from entering the country if they have been in South Africa in the past 14 days. Similar restrictions were imposed on travelers coming from Brazil, India and Turkey.