Speaker of the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Dr Sidie Mohammed Tunis has urged citizens of the sub-region to take the COVID-19 vaccines and shun all forms of conspiracy theories, stressing that the vaccines are very safe.
Tunis made the call yesterday in Winneba, Ghana at the opening of the Second Extraordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament to consider and adopt the Parliament’s Draft Budget for the year 2022.
He stressed the need for the citizens to get vaccinated as cases continue to surge across the sub-region.
“As it stands, the third wave of the pandemic seems to be stabilizing across our States, but cases are still high with the West African Health Organization (WAHO) reporting a total of 649,077 cases across the region as of October 14, 2021.
“On the vaccine front, more doses are getting into arms daily and we seize this moment to appreciate our partners under the COVAX initiative and friendly Governments that have donated doses to African Countries.
“However, the percentage of the African population fully vaccinated, which is a little over 2.47%, according to the Africa Center for Disease Control, is appallingly low, compared to those unvaccinated.
“Much as the unavailability of the vaccine is an issue to consider, we also frown at the conspiracy theories that have created fear of the vaccines in our population.
“I therefore, wish to use this podium, as I have always done, to send a clear message to our citizens that the vaccines are safe and should be taken once they are available,” Tunis said.
The Speaker noted that the Parliament has continued to examine the COVID-19 pandemic more closely and is very concerned about the region falling deeper into recession as a result of the pandemic. This, he warned, will ultimately erase the progress made over the past two decades.
Hon. Alban Bagbin, Speaker, Ghanaian Parliament in his remarks urged Members of Parliament to recommend programmes that will alleviate the sufferings of the citizens, especially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic while considering the budget.
Babgin, who was represented by Hon. Joseph Osei-Owsu, said that the recommendations will largely influence the budgetary implementation for the proposed programmes and activities of the institution.
“I wish to emphasise that your programmes should alleviate the sufferings of the citizens and reduce their burdens in these trying times, especially those adversely impacted by the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We must continue to address poverty in all its ramification and create job opportunities for the people,” Babgin said.