By Tunde Opalana
The Senate on Thursday urged the Federal Government to provide adequate funds for the procurement and administration of Covid-19 vaccines to Nigerians.
To achieve this, the upper chamber 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) , National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Federal Ministry of Finance and any other relevant government agency i.e to present to it details plan approval, Protocol, Funding, Procurement, Administration and Monitoring of Covid-19 vaccine in Nigeria.
Senate resolutions followed deliberations on a motion by the chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe (Kwara Central) on the Urgent need for Nigeria to obtain and administer Covid-19 vaccine to its citizens.
Standing upon order 42 and 52 of the Senate rule, Oloriegbe expressed worries that Nigeria is not prepared for the vaccination adding that no fund was appropriated for the vaccination in the 2021 budget.
He lamented that more Nigerians will be at risk of contracting coronavirus if the country failed to key into the vaccination programme and that the nation’s economy will be badly affected.
The Senate is “worried that the level of compliance with these measures have been diminishing. Further Worried that the level of testing, detection and isolation of confirmed cases have been reducing in the country.
“Aware that some countries have approved vaccines for Covid-19 and are administering the vaccine to their citizens.
“Aware that many other countries have completed plans on the procurement, distribution and administration of the vaccines to their citizens.
“Extremely worried that Nigeria has not produce a plan for the procurement, distribution and administration of the vaccine to Nigerians.
“Concern that 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 requirement for distribution and administration
“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 to the changes by re-allocating the funds to vaccine procurement.
“Worried that 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
“Concern that the consequence of non-administration of the vaccine to Nigerians will include worsening social and economy situation”.
The Daily Times recalled the advent of an unknown disease in Wuhan-China in December 2019. The disease was later diagnosed and named by the World Health (WHO) in January 2020 as Coronavirus Infection disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Further recalled that between 28th February 2020 and 2nd December, 2020, 67, 960 cases of the Covid-19 have been reported in Nigeria and sadly 1,177 persons diagnosed with the condition has died. 63, 839 has been discharged.
The Daily Times also noted the devastating effects of Covid-19 on the social and economic lives of Nigerians including precipitating the economy to go into a recession.
Meanwhile, the Senate directed the committees on health and primary healthcare to report back to the Senate in two weeks.