Stakeholders and experts have called on the federal government on the need for effective and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in Nigeria, going by the rise in new cases across the globe.
The request was contained in a communique issued at the end of a workshop organised by Diplomats Extra Magazine endorsed by the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) tagged: ‘’COVID-19 Vaccines on Ensuring Fair and Equitable Distribution’’ in Abuja signed by Mr Raphael Oni on behalf of the Communique Drafting Committee.
The engagement stressed the need for local production of COVID-19 vaccines in partnership with the Chinese government to halt the spread of the virus, adding that such an approach would pave way for more choices of safe vaccines for Nigerians.
The meeting stressed that this would ensure the tapping into Chinese Belt and Road Initiatives amidst COVID-19, and the need for the World Health Organisation (WHO) to approve and make more vaccines available for all.
The engagement also noted that severe sanctions should await inbound travellers and passengers from high-risk countries who flout COVID-19 protocol on isolation.
The communique reads in part:
“A major response to the COVID-19 pandemic is the development of vaccines; however, the skewed distribution has been a cause for concern for developing countries including Nigeria.
“So far, the WHO has enrolled the vaccines of AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Janssen, Mordena, etc, into the Emergency Use Listing (EUL), which are widely administered in the world, with AstraZenaca in about 160 countries, Pfizer in about 90 countries and Moderna in about 50 countries. In this regard, participants notice the contribution of China on COVID-19 vaccine development and distribution as four Chinese vaccines have been approved for use in over 100 countries, including nearly 40 African countries.
“Also two vaccines which are the Sinopharm and the Sinovac have also been included in the EUL and the COVAX procurement list as the safety and effectiveness of Chinese vaccines have gained authoritative recognition internationally.”
Consequently, the engagement called for science-led inquiry on the origin-tracing of the virus which should be collaborative.
It said the study of the origin of the virus is a matter of science and should be conducted around the world by scientists.
The communique further added that the origin-tracing of the virus should not be politicized as world leaders should deal with caution.
“The federal governments and states are encouraged to include all high-risk individuals and populations, in line with the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) recommendations, independent of their residency and legal status, including internally displaced populations, refugees, migrants, and detainees. When more COVID-19 vaccines become available,” the communique added.
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