Chargé d’Affaires Kathleen FitzGibbon – Remarks for COVID-19 Vaccine Hand-Over at the Office of the Secretary of the Federation

Good Afternoon

Dr. Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director National Primary Health Care Development Agency,

Members of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID19,

Friends of the Media

I am delighted to be here today and honored to welcome the arrival of 4 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, donated from the U.S. Government to the people of Nigeria. We are proud to work with our partners in the government and at UNICEF, the African Union, GAVI, the WHO, and our implementing partners to take another critical step to fulfill President Biden’s commitment to lead the world out of this pandemic, working alongside our global partners.

The United States is helping lead the world out of this pandemic, building a world that is safer and more secure against the threat of infectious disease.  All countries, regardless of income status, need vaccines that meet rigorous standards for safety and effectiveness.

This donation, like the many other health and humanitarian assistance programs offered from the American people over the years, is just one component of the strong cooperation between our two governments. Over 170,000 Nigerians have been infected with COVID-19 and even more are suffering from the economic effects of this pandemic.

Since the onset of the pandemic, the United States has provided Nigeria more than $73 million in COVID-19 assistance and will continue to support Nigeria’s prevention and response efforts, both now and in the future.  This includes deployment of personnel to support the response, delivery of a mobile field hospital, 200 ventilators, epidemiological and vaccine related COVID-19

surveys and surveillance systems, personal protective equipment, provision of rapid response teams, training of over 200,000 military and civilian personnel on COVID-19 control measures, and technology transfer for virtual training.

Throughout the pandemic, the United States has worked closely with the Government of Nigeria to protect public health. We are sharing these vaccines to save lives and to lead the world in bringing an end to the pandemic.  Sharing these vaccines also serve as another example of the strength of our 60-year partnership and our commitment to Nigeria.  The U.S. government has invested for decades via agencies such as USAID and U.S. Centers for Disease Control,  strengthening the Nigerian health system and institutions to be able to respond quickly to urgent needs such as this one.

As President Biden has said: “The United States is committed to bringing the same urgency to international vaccination efforts that we have demonstrated at home.”  The United States is committed to leading the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and accelerating global vaccine distribution as the world’s single largest donor to COVAX. Thanks to the ingenuity of American scientists and the resilience and commitment of the American people, we’re in a position to help others.  We will continue to do all we can to build a world that is safer and more secure against the threat of infectious disease.

I would like to conclude with a message directly for all Nigerians:

As the Nigerian government regularly advises, the pandemic continues to impact Nigeria, and the Delta Variant has arrived.  We all have a responsibility to socially distance, wear masks and regularly wash our hands to minimize the spread of this strain. To everyone who has not been vaccinated, I strongly encourage you to do so as soon as you have the opportunity.