By Emameh Gabriel |
The Senate has called on the federal government to provide adequate funds for the procurement and administration of COVID-19 vaccines to Nigerians.
The call was sequel to a motion: “Urgent Need for Nigeria to obtain and administer COVID-19 Vaccine to its citizens”, sponsored by Senator Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe (Kwara Central) under Orders 42 and 52.
The implication is that the 2021 budget might not scale through in December as proposed by the senate. This is premised on the argument that the concern on the devastating effects of COVID-19 on the social and economic lives of Nigerians including precipitating the economy to go into a recession should serve as a lesson to the country.
In the motion, the senate expressed concern that Nigeria has not produced a plan for the procurement, distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccine to Nigerians in case of any emergency.
Although the PTF has since the outbreak of coronavirus been coordinating the strategies and activities to address the challenges emanating from disease, the senate argued that the key measures being implemented for now are the promotion of hand washing, wearing of face masks and social distancing.
Worried that the level of compliance with these measures have been diminishing and the level of testing, detection and isolation of confirmed cases in the country have reduced, the senate noted that it
had become imperative for the federal government to make provisions for the procurement and administering of COVID-19 vaccines for Nigerians as some countries in the world are already doing.
They noted that though the Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative (GAVI) has pledged a 20% support for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine for Nigeria, the support will cover only the cost of the vaccines without taking care of logistics requirement for distribution and administration.
The senate also raised concern that 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 cognizance of the changes by re-allocating the funds to vaccine procurement.
Worried that failure to administer vaccines to Nigeria would 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 senate 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 agency to present to it, details of plan approval, protocol, funding, procurement, administration and monitoring of COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria.
It also urged the federal government to provide adequate funds for the procurement and administration of vaccines and directed its committees on health and primary healthcare to report back in two weeks.