Niger has received more than 151,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine donated by the US Government through the COVAX Facility
Lalaina Fatratra Andriamasinoro
NIAMEY (Niger), 21 July 2021- Niger has received more than 151,200 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a donation from the US Government through the COVAX Facility. The vaccine doses were officially received at Niamey International Airport by Dr Illiassou Idi Mainassara, Minister for Public Health, Population and Social Affairs, and US Ambassador H.E. Eric P. Whitaker, along with members of the COVAX Facility, WHO and UNICEF, and the ambassadors of the European Union and the United Kingdom.
“This donation is part of global efforts by the Biden-Harris administration to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Supplying these vaccines is part of the United States’ commitment to provide at least 25 million doses to Africa, in coordination with the African Union and African public health authorities (Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention). A total of 300,000 doses are planned for Niger under this initiative,” said H.E. Eric P. Whitaker at the ceremony where the vaccines were officially received.
Referring to the commitment by the US President, the US Ambassador declared that “this is about our responsibility – our humanitarian obligation to save as many lives as possible – and our responsibility to live up to our values. We will help end this global pandemic by working alongside our global partners,” he continued.
“Several African countries are unfortunately beginning to experience a third wave of the pandemic, and the threat of the Delta variant continues to hang over all countries around the globe. Although the situation remains under control in Niger, it is important that the population protects itself against this disease. The vaccine is the only weapon we have to stop infection and to stop the virus spreading,” declared Dr Idi Illiassou Mainassara, Minister for Public Health, Population and Social Affairs.
On behalf of the United Nations System, Dr Anya Blanche, WHO Representative in Niger, stressed that the emergence of new variants worldwide meant that getting vaccinated is important to contain their spread. “The arrival of these new vaccine doses allows us to scale up vaccinations in the country while at the same time diversifying vaccine supply. We will need to accelerate our efforts to reach as many people as possible,” she declared.
“The effectiveness of the vaccine is heavily dependent on the effectiveness of the national vaccination programme,” said HE Mrs Catherine Inglehearn, United Kingdom Ambassador to Niger. “That is why it is important to continue increasing the population’s awareness of the importance of vaccination.”
“No one is safe until everyone is safe.” These were the words used by Denisa-Elena Ionete, European Union Ambassador, to underline the “importance of joining forces to be more effective in the common battle we are fighting, while remembering that it is crucial that we continue to apply preventive measures even if vaccinated”. The European Union has supported Niger since the start of the pandemic and took this opportunity to reiterate its commitment to assisting the Government and to stepping up efforts to combat the pandemic.
Niger has recorded a total of 5,587 confirmed cases out of 125,624 people tested since the start of the pandemic. By 18 July 2021, a total of 348,894 people had been vaccinated, and 65,102 had received their second dose.