Experts laments discrimination in distribution, administration of Covid-19 vaccines
Health Experts have lamented cases of discrimination observed in the distribution and administration of Covid-19 vaccines in Nigeria.
The experts, who spoke in Abuja during a media roundtable discussion also, questioned the low level of awareness about the vaccine for Nigerians living in rural areas.
According to them, out of over 1.3 billion COVID-19 vaccines that have been administered worldwide, 83 percent of it have gone to a handful of wealthy nations, maintaining that low-income countries, especially Africa nations have received a mere 0.3 percent.
Speaking, Country Program Director of Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF), Dr. Echey Ijezie disclosed that his organisation has initiated the Vaccinate Our World’ (VOW) campaign to create awareness and ensure that there is equity and equal access to vaccine between developed countries and developing countries.
“AHF have been shouting and making this statement clearly through the VOW campaign that the gap has to be bridged. We will continue to push to ensure that these demands are met.” He added.
He urged the government to adopt public health Communication strategies to make Nigerians especially rural dwellers to accept the vaccines when available.
“There is a gap that has to be bridged and that gap is between the availability of the vaccine and our own people accepting it which can be done by adopting public health Communication strategies which must be done effectively because if the vaccines are available and people are not coming forward to take it, it’s discouraging”
Ijezie further called on the Nigerian government to urge world leaders, vaccine manufacturers, and public health organizations to protect humanity by providing access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide, particularly in lower-income countries.
Also Speaking, General Secretary, Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP), Martin Adekunle Egbanubi, who noted that the desire of the richest countries to protect themselves leaving vulnerable ones to perish was unacceptable, demanded an increase in the production of vaccine in the global South.
Stating that the major component of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2030 was to ensure that citizens are living healthy in other to reduce mortality in all ramifications.
Egbanubi said he has noticed cases of discrimination in the distribution and administration of vaccines in Nigeria as well as a low level of awareness for those in the rural areas.
He advocated for a scenario whereby the Nigerian government will invest heavily in research and development as the country cannot continue to rely on the world’s richest countries in times of emergency.
“We cannot continue to rely on Europe and America to bail us out whenever there is emergency, And we must make sure that the political will is there to drive the process, because if we produce our own vaccine definitely more people will be administered.”
On her part Chairman, Civil Society Accountability Forum, Ms. Ize Adava who said rural dwellers were not accepting the vaccine because those sent to administer the vaccine were not taken, maintained that vaccine inequity must be eliminated.
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