Nigeria, the Most Populous Country in Africa, is Desperate for COVID-19 Vaccines

Nigeria has a population of over 200 million people. It is the largest country in Africa — about one in every six people in Africa live in Nigeria.

The country is now in the midst of a second wave of COVID infections which is straining an already fragile health system. But even as countries in North America and Europe roll out national vaccination strategies, Nigerian officials have not been able to secure any doses of any COVID-19 vaccine for their frontline health workers — let alone general population.

My guest today, Dr. Faisal Shuaib is the executive director and CEO of Nigeria’s National Primary Healthcare Development Agency and a member of the country’s COVID-19 task force. In our conversation, he explains the impact of the COVID–19 in Nigeria and the difficult task of securing doses of the vaccine. He also explains how Nigeria’s successful campaign to eradicate polio is informing the country’s response to COVID.

This episode really underscores how inequitable the vaccine distribution has been across the world so far — you can definitely hear the desperation in his voice when we discuss vaccine.


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