Nigeria dealt heavy blow as WHO fails to shortlist country for 1st round of Pfizer vaccine

Nigeria dealt heavy blow as WHO fails to shortlist country for 1st round of Pfizer vaccine

- Nigeria is missing from the list of African countries that will be getting the Pfizer vaccines in February

- To access an initial limited volume of Pfizer vaccine, countries were invited to submit proposals and 13 African countries showed interest, out of which only four was picked

- Citing reasons for this, WHO said it had to take into consideration things like current mortality rates, capacities to deliver and store the vaccine

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) did not shortlist Nigeria for the first round of supply of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine following the country’s inability to meet certain criteria.

Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, said Nigeria does not meet the standard requirement of being able to store the vaccine at the required minus 70 degrees Celsius.

Moeti said in a statement that only four African countries were shortlisted in the first supply of 320,000 vaccines out of the 13 that applied.

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Nigeria was one of the countries that expressed interest to be supplied the vaccine being donated by COVAX, the global alliance against COVID-19.

WHO disqualifies Nigeria's bid for Pfizer vaccine
Dr Matshidiso Moeti said only four African countries will be getting the Pfizer vaccine which will be delivered in February. Photo Credit: @MoetiTshidi
Source: Twitter

The WHO official further explained that that the proposals from these 13 African countries were evaluated and it was a challenging process picking the four that were finally shortlisted.

She said:

“In addition, around 320,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have been allocated to four African countries: Cabo Verde, Rwanda, South Africa and Tunisia. Deliveries are also expected later on in February."

According to her, WHO cannot afford to waste a single dose of these vaccines.

This deals a heavy blow on Nigeria’s plan to vaccinate its citizens against COVID-19 which as at Friday, February 5, has already killed 1,641 people and infected 137,654.

Reacting to the disqualification, Nigerians called on the government to look inwards. gathered some of the reactions below:

Micah Ugala with Twitter handle @UgalaMicah stated:

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"Better, let's look inwards, we can come up with a vaccine that will suit us better. As I'm not sure this one was developed with our peculiarities in mind.
"The handlers of our own Covid-19, are not even transparent enough to us. Some test results are acceptable, others are not."

Ibrahim Yusuf with the Twitter handle @Ibrorijau commented:

"Let’s buy SputnikV from Russia. It can be stored at +2 to +8 degrees without the need for ultra low temperature storage. And again it’s also cheap. A dose costs less than $10 and it comes in 2 doses"

@chummyblack12 added:

"Pfizer vaccine needs cold temperatures & WHO didn’t buy our idea of using generators to preserve it. The vaccine is limited so they disqualified some countries without steady power & some other issues. There are about 8 other vaccines in the market we can buy." had earlier listed the African countries that have procured COVID-19 vaccines. Among them are South Africa, Africa's epicentre for the coronavirus pandemic, Morocco, Seychelles and others.

Seychelles, a popular tourist destination before the pandemic struck, has reportedly started its free vaccination programme.


Nkem Ikeke avatar

Nkem Ikeke (Copy editor) Nkem Ikeke is currently a copy editor who also writes for the politics and current affairs desk on weekends. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication degree from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (2010), and has over 10 years of work experience in the media industry (Reporter, News Agency of Nigeria). Email: