Falana-led Coalition Urges Nigerians to Reject Planned Commercialisation of COVID-19 Vaccines

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The Alliance for Survival of COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), a coalition led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, (SAN) and human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana, has urged Nigerians to resist any attempt by health workers to commercialise COVID-19 vaccines being expected in the country.

The Deputy Chairman of the coalition, Sina Odugbemi, who stated this yesterday while featuring on a live TV programme, also kicked against preference treatment for the “high and mighty.”

“When it (vaccine) comes in, people may want to trade with it and there may be preference for the high and mighty. We should anticipate these things and put in place machineries to ensure that we scale the hurdle because the Nigerian factor will come into play when the vaccines come in.

“There will be special preference. In fact, health officers like we have witnessed may want to find a way of commercialising one thing or the other. But then, once this monster stirs its head, it is the duty of all of us – civil societies, religious organisations and individuals – to ensure that we turn ourselves to self-monitoring groups. All hands must be on the deck,” Odugbemi explained.

The federal government had said that the first batch of the vaccines would arrive in the country between the end of January and February 2021.

It has also promised that the vaccines to be used in the country would be safe and effective.

It also said the 100,000 doses of the vaccine being expected in the first batch were for 50,000 Nigerians as the vaccines would be taken twice by each person at intervals of 21 days.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, also said the country would spend N400bn to procure vaccines for the 70 per cent of Nigerians it planned to vaccinate.