CENTUS NWEZE – The Senate on Thursday has revealed that money for acquiring, distribution and administration of the vaccine for the much dreaded Covid 19 virus is largely absent as more countries order for the newly discovered Covid-19 vaccine, elombah.com has gathered from the legislative floor.
Of the N160 million required for the actual acquisition of the vaccine, the country has been able to manage to raise just N40 million. The money happens to be the pledge of 20 per cent for the country’s vaccine requirements made by Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative, to Nigeria.
This amount is less what is required for both administrative and distribution of the drugs.
The development has been worrisome for for the lawmakers.
Senate is also worried at the absence of a national plan to ensure continuous compliance to health guidelines regarding the prevention of the spread of the disease in the country.
The Upper Chamber of the National Assembly is also concerned that federal government is relying solely on the pledge by the Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative, to provide the N40 million naira as its 20 percent of cost of acquisition of the drugs.
According to the Senate, this figure did not cover the cost of distribution and administration of the vaccines.
The Senate expressed these worries during debate on a motion “urgent need for Nigeria to obtain and administer Covid-19 vaccine to its citizens,” sponsored by Senator Yahaya Oloriegbe (Kwara Central).
Leading debate on the motion, the lawmaker lamented that despite the increasing number of cases, the level of testing, detection and isolation of confirmed cases have been reducing in the country.
He pointed out that this portends grave danger for the country as it further increases the chances of more people contracting the virus.
The lawmaker emphasized that government must come up with measures to protect the country from the pandemic, even as the Senate called on relevant government agencies to work together towards vaccinating Nigerians against the Corona Virus.
Accordingly, the Senate insists that Nigerians may be banned from travelling to other countries if not vaccinated.
The Red Chamber therefore directed its Committee on Health and Primary Health Care to invite the Federal Ministry of Health, the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA); NCDC and Federal Ministry of Finance, to present to it details plan for the procurement of the vaccine, and administration to Nigerians.