Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The Senate yesterday summoned the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire and the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-l9, Boss Mustapha, to brief its Committees on Health and Primary Healthcare on modalities the federal government would adopt to procure and administer COVID-19 vaccines on Nigerians.
Also, to appear before the Senate Committees include the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Directors General of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Chief Executives of other relevant government agencies.
These resolutions of the Upper Chamber followed a motion titled: “Urgent need for Nigeria to obtain and administer COVlD-l9 Vaccine to its citizens” sponsored by Senator Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe (Kwara Central).
The prayers of the motion which were approved by the Senate include: “The Senate therefore resolves to direct its committee on Health and Primary Health Care to Invite the Federal Ministry of Health, the Presidential Task Force on Covid-l9, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), the National Agency for Food Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Nigeria Centre for Decease Control (NCDC), Federal Ministry of Finance and any other relevant government agency to present to it detail plan approval, protocol, funding, procurement, administration and monitoring of COVID-19 Vaccine in Nigeria.
“Urge the federal government to provide adequate funds for the procurement and administration of COVID-19 vaccines to Nigerians.
“Direct the committees in Health and Primary Healthcare to report back to the Senate in 2 weeks.”
Senator Oloriegbe in his lead debate urged his colleagues to be: “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 produced a plan for the procurement, distribution and administration of the vaccine to Nigerians.
“Concern that the only plan on Covid-l9 Vaccine for Nigeria is the pledge by the Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative (GAVl) 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 the Covid-19 infection and a possible ban on not being able to control 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 Kwara Central lawmaker also urged the Senate to be aware of the advent of the unknown disease in Wuhan-China in December 2019.
He added: “The disease was later diagnosed and named by the World Health (WHO) in January 2020 as Coronavirus Infection disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“Aware that Nigeria experienced its first index case of Covid-l9 on 28th February, 2020 with the diagnosis of an Italian citizen who was a consultant to Lafarge Company in Ewekoro-Ogun State.
“Note that between 28th F ebruary 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.
“Notes that to coordinate the National Response to the pandemic the President of Nigeria set up a Presidential Task Force (PTF) in March 2020.
The PTF has been coordinating the strategies and activities to address the challenges emanating from the COVID-19.
“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.
“Notes that the key measures being implemented for the COVID-19 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.
“Further worried that the level of testing, detection and isolation of confirmed cases have been reducing in the country.”