By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
Senate thursday slammed the Federal Government of Nigeria for not coming up with plan for provision and administration of vaccine against Coronavirus in Nigeria which had claimed 1,177 lives so far.
It consequently summoned the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, the Chairman, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, the Director General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Chikwe Ihekweazu and others, to appear before its committees on Health, Primary Health Care and Communicable Diseases for presentation of plans for the vaccine.
It also frowned at none provision of budgetary votes for the Vaccine in the N13.08 trillion 2021 budget by urging President Buhari to make provisions to that effect, in terms of procurement and administration of COVID-19 vaccines to Nigerians.
Senate’s resolutions to these effects, were sequel to a motion moved by Senator Ibrahim Yahaya – Oloriegbe ( APC Kwara Central) on the “urgent need for Nigeria to obtain and administer COVID-19 Vaccine to its citizens”.
Oloriegbe in the motion exhaustively debated by Senators noted despite the fact that between 28th February 2020 and 2nd December, 2020, 67, 960 cases of the Covid-19 has been reported in Nigeria and sadly 1,177 persons diagnosed with the condition died, that the only key measures being implemented against the pandemic are the promotion of hand washing, wearing of face masks and social distancing.
He lamented that level of compliance with these measures have been diminishing just as the level of testing, detection and isolation of confirmed cases have also been reducing in the country.
He added that while some countries have approved vaccines for Covid-19 and are administering the vaccine to their citizens and many other ones, completed plans on the procurement, distribution and administration of the vaccines to their citizens, Nigeria has not produce a plan for the procurement, distribution and administration of the vaccine to Nigerians.
According to him, 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 he lamented further, Will cover only the cost of the vaccines without taking care of logistics requirement for distribution and administration.
He consequently 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, aside worsening social and economy situation.
The Senate after adopting the prayers of the motion , mandated its committees to submit report on planned interface with heads of relevant health agencies in two weeks time.