According to findings released on Monday, the prevalence of antibodies was 23% in the states of Lagos – which is home to more than 16 million people – and Enugu, 19% in Nasarawa state, and 9% in Gombe state.

Confirmed infections stood in the tens of thousands at the time, Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Institute for Medical Research collected blood samples from more than 10,000 individuals living in a representative sample of households in four states in September and October.

Up to now, the country has recorded just 1,800 deaths from Covid, but the head of the NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, said the study findings meant it was “even more important” that Nigeria secured vaccines.

Nigeria, like other countries in Africa, has struggled to secure vaccine doses amid fierce global competition as New variants were emerging quickly in Nigeria, the NCDC said, and would continue to do so until transmission rates fell.

Nigerian health officials recently approved the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for use in the country and on Monday requested 10m vaccine doses from the African Union (AU) and the World Health Organization Covax program – a platform working to secure vaccines for African countries. But authorities have not made clear when the vaccines will arrive.

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