Admin l Friday, July 22, 2022
GENEVA, Switzerland – Last week, Niger became the latest African country to pass the 10 percent (of total population fully vaccinated) COVID-19 vaccination milestone. This is commendable progress in curbing vaccine inequity and protecting lives amidst competing health priorities and in the face of challenges.
Niger started COVID-19 vaccination on 15th April 2021, upon receiving 355,000 vaccine doses from the COVAX Facility, to protect frontline workers and elderly people with chronic health conditions. COVAX is the major supplier of COVID-19 vaccines to Niger and the African continent. COVAX has since delivered over 5.8 million Vaccines to Niger as of 15th July.
Niger’s vaccination efforts have involved several unique and homegrown initiatives such as women driven mobilization campaigns in rural areas, door to door vaccination as well as deploying vaccination teams along nomadic corridors.
In partnership with non-profit organisations such as Expertise France, the country is also making headway against challenges that have continued to hold back COVID-19 vaccination efforts, such as false news and misinformation. Niger is also currently working to increase coverage for high risk populations.
In addition to increased COVID-19 Vaccination progress, the country has also maintained progress in routine immunisation amid the pandemic across key programmes.
The latest global estimates of national immunization coverage (WUENIC) show that Niger sustained progress in DTP3 (three doses of the combined diphtheria, tetanus toxoid and pertussis, which is used as a standard proxy for the reach of a health system), as well as measles, polio and Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccine is a vaccine primarily used against tuberculosis).
Thabani Maphosa, the Managing Director of Country Programmes at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which leads on procurement and delivery at scale for COVAX, comments on Niger’s progress:
“Niger is the latest African country to protect 10% of its population with two doses of COVID-19 vaccines. This milestone is significant given the vast size of the country, population and health system challenges that they are working to overcome.
To achieve this, Niger increased number of vaccination and immunization sites across the country and deployed door to door vaccination as well as mobile teams along nomadic corridors. The country’s initiatives to reach the milestone are evidence of the role women and gender equity play in driving vaccination, with rural women having led demand campaigns in parts of the country.
Through the COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership, Gavi, UNICEF and WHO, along with partners such as the African Union and World Bank are providing coordinated, tailored support to governments focusing on urgently overcoming delivery bottlenecks to turn vaccines into vaccinations. COVAX will continue to support efforts in Niger and across the continent – with enough supply available, we must seize this opportunity to achieve vaccine equity.
“We congratulate the country for the commitment and unique solutions and look forward to continue working together to protect people Niger from COVID-19,”