At a time when COVID-19 cases in the country and elsewhere have reached unprecedented levels, the Federal Government and the United Nations System in Nigeria have agreed to further strengthen collaboration to ensure that Nigerians have access to timely, sustained, uninterrupted supply of affordable COVID-19 vaccines of assured quality.
At a recent strategic meeting to discuss finalization of the national vaccine deployment plans, Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Enahire and UN Resident Coordinator, Mr Edward Kallon 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.
As the country prepares to receive the much-awaited first batch of vaccines through the WHO-led COVAX facility, the Government and UN have called on all stakeholders in the country to join ongoing efforts to boost public acceptance and confidence in COVID-19 vaccine safety.
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. Said Dr Ehanire, “vaccine shortages, even for a short period of time, might increase risk of vaccine preventable diseases, including COVID-19, to surge and cause morbidity and mortality among vulnerable persons”.
Earlier, 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. “Now is not the time to allow interests of the wealthiest corporations and governments to be placed above the universal needs to save lives,” proclaimed President Buhari.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Nigeria.