Senate asks FG to provide funds for procurement of COVID-19 vaccines

• Indicts Health Minister

The Senate, on Thursday, urged the Federal Government to provide adequate funds for the procurement and administration of COVID-19 vaccines to Nigerians.

The resolution was sequel to a motion, “Urgent Need for Nigeria to Obtain and Administer COVID-19 Vaccine to its Citizens.”

It was sponsored by Senator representing Kwara Central, Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe.

The Senate recalled that between February 28, 2020, and December 2, 2020, 67,960 cases of the Covid-19 has been reported in Nigeria and sadly 1,177 persons diagnosed with the condition have died.

It expressed concern that despite the alarming casualty figures, the key measures being implemented now for the COVID-19 now are the promotion of handwashing, wearing of face masks and social distancing.

The Red Chamber expressed reservations that “the level of compliance with these measures have been diminishing. “Further worried that the level of testing, detection and isolation of confirmed cases have been reducing in the country.”

The Senate indicted the Minister of Health, Honourable Osagie Ehanire, for lack of a plan for the procurement, distribution and administration of the vaccine to Nigerians.

The lawmakers noted that while many other countries have completed plans on the procurement, distribution and administration of the vaccines to their citizens, “the only plan on COVID-19 Vaccine for Nigeria is the pledge by Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative (GAVI) to support 20% of the country’s vaccine requirement. This support will cover only the cost of the vaccines without taking care of the logistics requirement for distribution and administration.”

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The Senate declared that failure to administer vaccines to Nigeria will result in the Country not being able to control the COVID-19 infection and a possible ban on travelling by Nigerians may be instituted by countries around the world.

It further expressed concern that the consequence of non-administration of the vaccine to Nigerians will include worsening social and economic situation.

The Senate equally directed its committee on Health and Primary Health Care to invite the Federal Ministry of Health, the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), the National Agency for Food and Drugs Control (NAFDAC), NCDC, Federal Ministry of Finance and any other relevant government agencies, to present to it, details plan approval, Protocol, Funding, Procurement, Administration and Monitoring of COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria.

The committees on Health and Primary Healthcare are expected to report back to the Senate in 2 weeks.

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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