The Senate has urged the Federal Government to make sufficient funds available for procurement and administration of COVID-19 vaccines for 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 on Thursday, Dec 3, by Senator Oloriegbe Ibrahim during plenary presided over by Senate President Ahmad Lawan in Abuja, the upper legislative chamber 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 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 added: “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 in the nation would result in Nigeria’s inability to contain further infections and a possible ban on Nigerians by countries across the world.