Expert Cautions FG against Politicisation of COVID-19 Vaccines Distribution
Eromosele Abiodun and Nume Ekeghe
A former consultant to the Senate Committee on Health, Dr. Rekevwe Ugwumba, has faulted the vaccination sharing formula across states in Nigeria, which was released by the federal government yesterday.
She warned against politicising the distribution process, stressing that the process must be based on available data and science.
Ugwumba, who is a family health expert, stated this yesterday during as interview on the ‘Morning Show’ on Arise News, the THISDAY sister broadcast arm.
She said Lagos, which is the epicentre of the virus being given less allocation of vaccinations compared to some northern states which have rarer cases, does not seem logical.
According to her, “We are doing politics where politics has no business. This is a science-based decision making that must be done through science, not politics. Lagos State that is densely populated would get less vaccines than Kano State, whereas we know there are over 1,000 infection cases today in Lagos, and it is actually where the infections really found. So how on earth would we be giving the North more vaccines than the densely populated area where the vaccine is needed?
“The bottom-line is we really need to stop doing politics where politics has no business. We really need to ask the scientist, doctors and researchers to help us distribute these vaccines so that we can stop the spread of the COVID-19.”
The expert also condemned the linking of National Identification Number (NIN) to mobile phone numbers nationally, which she pointed out is causing huge crowds, when there should be a total lockdown and social distancing.
This, she stated, is happening at a time when other countries are stopping their citizens from going out if not an essential worker.
“In the midst of new strains and second wave of the virus, we are getting worried because we are putting crazy deadlines and more pressure on Nigerians who are already stressed to the max with this virus and nobody know what the true numbers are because a lot of testing has not been done.
“We know that the way to stop this COVID-19 is to vaccinate people to stop the spread of this virus, and we haven’t done that either. And in fact, we are encouraging the spread because we are asking people queue at places (in crowd) where registrations are ongoing. The government is doing very little to help Nigerians in the distribution of the vaccines,” the expert stated.She also kicked against the planned reopening of schools, stressing that schools reopening should be postponed until vaccination is spread across the country.
“What is this urgency for education if your child goes to school, contract the virus and dies? It does not make any sense to rush the students back to school, because children and young adults hardly follow rules, and might not understand the severity and importance of social distancing. So why put people at risks when you have not vaccinated them?” Ugwumba queried.