The Senate has urged the Federal Government to make sufficient funds available for procurement and administration of COVID-19 vaccines on Nigerians.
It described as unfortunate the failure by government to produce a plan for the purchase, distribution and administration of the therapy despite the fact that many nations globally had done so.
Adopting a motion sponsored yesterday by Senator Oloriegbe Ibrahim (APC: Kwara State) during plenary presided over by Senate President Ahmad Lawan in Abuja, the upper legislative chamber also directed its Committee on Health and Primary Health Care to summon the Ministries of Health and Finance, as well as the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and other relevant agencies for their plans.
The Red Chamber lamented that “between 28th February 8 and December 2, 2020, 67, 960 cases of COVID-19 was reported in Nigeria and sadly, 1,177 persons died, while 63, 839 were discharged.
”It deplored the level of compliance with measures put in place to check spread of the virus. The Senate further expressed worry over level of testing, detection and isolation. The lawmakers regretted that “the only plan on COVID-19 vaccine for Nigeria is the pledge by Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative (GAVI) to support 20 per cent of the country’s requirement.”
This support, according to them, would cover only the cost of the treatment without taking care of logistics for distribution and administration. The legislature went on: “Despite the change in the epidemiology trends of the disease, the financial plan developed by the country and World Bank in April 2020 to fund the response to the pandemic is still being implemented without taking due cognisance of the changes by re-allocating the funds to vaccine procurement.”
It noted that failure to administer vaccines on the most populous black nation would result in Nigeria’s inability to contain further infections and a possible ban on Nigerians by countries across the world.