Nervous over the continued confirmed cases and deaths recorded due to the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, the Senate has urged the federal government to provide adequate funds for the procurement and administration of vaccines to Nigerians.
The pandemic has claimed 1, 177 lives out of 67,960 confirmed cases in Nigeria as at December 2 while 63,839 people have recovered, according to the records of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC.
Consequently, the upper legislative chamber has summoned the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire; the Chairman, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, who is also the Secretary to the Government of Federation, SGF, Mr. Boss Mustapha; the Director General of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu and others, to appear before its joint Committees on Health and that of Primary Healthcare and Communicable Diseases for presentation of plans for the vaccine.
It also frowned at the 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.
These resolutions were sequel to a motion by the chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe (APC Kwara Central) on the “Urgent need for Nigeria to obtain and administer COVID-19 vaccine to its citizens”.
Senator Oloriegbe, while presenting the motion, noted that that the only key measures being implemented against the pandemic in the country, are the promotion of hand washing, wearing of face masks and social distancing, despite the fact that 67, 960 cases of the COVID-19 has been reported with 1,177 deaths between February 28 and December 2 this year.
The lawmaker lamented that the 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 produced 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 will cover only the cost of the vaccines without taking care of logistics requirements for distribution and administration.
“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.
“The consequence of non-administration of the vaccine to Nigerians will include worsening social and economic situation,” Senator Oloriegbe stressed.
The Senate after adopting the prayers of the motion mandated its committees to submit a report on the planned interface with heads of relevant health agencies within two weeks.
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