Nigeria is Africa’s largest country with a population of more than 200 million people. However, estimates place the number of fully vaccinated at around or less than 1% of the population. This is as the nation faces its third wave of COVID-19 infections. With the help of the U.S. government and COVID-19 programs in Nigeria, the country looks to successfully improve its vaccination rates and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 in Nigeria
Since Nigeria’s first known case of COVID-19 in February 2020, the country has seen a consistent spike in the total number of cases and deaths. A month after Nigeria’s first known case, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari implemented a 14-day lockdown in the country’s three major states: Lagos, Abuja and Ogun. During the lockdown, citizens underwent quarantine, travel to other states was postponed and businesses were temporarily closed. The country then completed a gradual easing of its initial COVID-19 lockdown in phases. The first phase was initially conducted in the three major states for two weeks from May 4 to 17, but the government issued another two-week extension until June 1.
At this time, the country had a little more than 10,000 COVID-19 cases. The country then went into its second phase of easing regulations. This lasted four weeks from June 2 to June 29, during which Nigeria saw an increase of about 15,000 cases, bringing the total to more than 25,000 cases. After tallying fewer than 90,000 cases by the end of 2020, Nigeria saw a spike in COVID-19 cases in the spring of 2021 as it surpassed 160,000 cases in March.
Furthermore, Nigeria is experiencing a third wave of COVID-19 cases. The country recorded its highest daily case total in the last six months when it tallied 790 cases on August 12. However, the Nigerian government is now not considering conducting another lockdown because a lockdown “stifles economic activity.” As of late September, the country has recorded more than 200,000 COVID-19 cases and 2,666 deaths.
Despite Nigeria’s low vaccination rates, hope to improve the situation remains. With donations from the U.S. government and COVID-19 programs in Nigeria, the country stands to improve its vaccination rates. In March 2021, COVAX made a significant donation to Nigeria’s capital, Abuja. The delivery was the “third and largest COVID-19 vaccine donation to an African country” by the COVAX program. COVAX, which aims to guarantee equal access to COVID-19 vaccines for low-income countries, donated nearly 4 million vaccines to Nigeria.
Recently, on August 2, the United States delivered 4 million Moderna doses to Nigeria. More than a week later, the Nigerian government received 177,600 Johnson & Johnson vaccines from the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT). This donation is the first of 29.8 million vaccines that are being donated by the AVAT.
After only administering 3.9 million vaccines, Nigeria is expected to receive more than 40 million vaccines by the end of the year. With vaccine donations from the U.S. government and COVID-19 programs in Nigeria, the country can drastically improve its vaccine rates and work to recover from the impact of COVID-19.
– Kyle Har