Vaccine Equity: US-Donated COVID-19 vaccines benefit Nigerians

The United States government helps strengthen global vaccine equity.

Nchekwube Nwosu-Igbo, Communication Assistant, UNICEF Nigeria
A man receiving vaccination
17 February 2022

In early to mid-2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was in full stride, Oluwole Amosu, a 41-year-old health worker in Nigeria, was concerned about getting the coronavirus and the potential health consequences for himself and his family.

As a health worker, Oluwole knew that vaccines work, and he was hoping for a vaccine that would put an end to the pandemic. He made up his mind to get vaccinated as soon as vaccines became available, and when they did, Oluwole didn’t hesitate to get his shots.

A man showing his vaccination card
Oluwole Amosu displays his COVID-19 vaccination card

Despite this, his journey to receiving the vaccines wasn’t hitch-free. Oluwole, like so many others, was bombarded with vaccine misinformation and conspiracy theories.

“The first theory I heard was that the pandemic is linked to 5G technology and is a hoax,” he said. “Then there was a theory of vaccines altering the DNA of human beings as a first step to global domination. “

But Oluwole did his own research and the misinformation did not deter him – he quickly realized the stories were far-fetched. Oluwole received his first and second doses in April and June of 2021, respectively. He did not hesitate to get a booster shot when he learned it increases protection.

“I read different journals that provide justification for a booster shot following the emergence of the Delta and Omicron variants,” he said.

A woman taking a man's photograph
A nurse takes a photograph of Oluwole for documentation purposes

Nigeria has benefited from vaccine donations. Oluwole’s booster shot is part of the 3.5 million doses donated to Nigeria by the United States, through the COVAX Facility. Since last July, the U.S., through the COVAX Facility, and the African Union have provided approximately 18 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Nigeria, helping to ensure more fair access to the vaccine.

On side effects, Oluwole noted, “I felt fatigued with a dull headache that gradually disappeared after a few hours of sleep. It was really nothing to worry about.”

As far as Oluwole is concerned, the world can defeat COVID-19 if we all get vaccinated. He worries that those who refuse to get vaccinated will eventually be the reason for the continued existence of the pandemic.

The U.S has pledged to donate at least 1.1 billion doses of COVID-19 doses for global use before the end of 2022.