ABUJA, Feb 7 (Reuters) – Nigeria has received 2 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine from Finland, Greece and Slovenia, with more EU donations expected to arrive within weeks to come, government officials said Monday.

The delivery is part of a European Union pledge to African countries through the COVAX initiative launched by the World Health Organization in 2020 to distribute vaccines to some of the world’s poorest people.

Samuela Isopi, European Union ambassador to Nigeria, said more doses would arrive in the coming weeks.

Join now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Register

The vaccines are currently in a cold room at the airport in the West African nation’s capital, Abuja.

“This batch of vaccines will expire in August 2023. So we have plenty of time to administer before then,” said Faisal Shuaib, executive director of Nigeria’s National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), during a press conference at the airport.

The vaccine shelf life is the longest Nigeria has ever received.

The government said in December it would have to destroy about 1 million doses of donated vaccines after they expired. Read more

The country had accepted vaccines with short shelf lives from international donor countries in an effort to use them quickly and provide some level of protection to Nigerians due to the scarcity of vaccines in the past.

(This story corrects name, title of ambassador in paragraph 3)

Join now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Register

Reporting by Camillus Eboh, writing by Julia Payne; Editing by Jon Boyle and Mark Porter

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.