By Funmi Ajumobi
The Federal Government of Nigeria and the United Nations System in Nigeria have agreed to further strengthen collaboration to ensure Covid-19 vaccines of assured quality is accessible to Nigerians.
In a press statement jointly released by United Nations and Ministry Of Health, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Enahire and UN Resident Coordinator, Mr Edward Kallon after a recent strategic meeting held recently to discuss finalization of the national vaccine deployment plans, the duo promised to “use all platforms, including the expansion of the One UN Basket Fund for COVID-19 as well as bilateral and multilateral and private sector engagements, to ensure vaccine security and equitable access for all Nigerians”.
They hailed the development and approval of safe and effective vaccines less than a year after the emergence of a new virus as a stunning scientific achievement, and a much-needed source of hope. They jointly expressed their resolve to ensure that Nigeria gets the most potent and efficacious vaccines.
The Government and UN also called on all stakeholders in the country to join ongoing efforts to boost public acceptance and confidence in COVID-19 vaccine safety even as the country prepares to receive the much-awaited first batch of vaccines through the WHO-led COVAX facility.
They stressed the need to step-up high-level advocacy, strengthen leadership and coordination at the highest Federal and State level, and accelerate preparedness for effective and efficient vaccine delivery, including provisions to reach inaccessible areas.
Further, Dr Ehanire noted that vaccine shortages, even for a short period of time, might increase the risk of vaccine-preventable diseases, including COVID-19, to surge and cause morbidity and mortality among vulnerable persons.
Recalled that on 20 August 2020, His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari issued a public statement joining the urgent global call for a People’s Vaccine Against COVID-19, saying that it was not the time to allow interests of the wealthiest corporations and governments to be placed above the universal needs to save lives.