FG moves to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for civil servants


• CSOs query alleged N195b spending shortfall in Delta, Enugu, others
• Govt coopts traditional leaders to reduce vaccine hesitancy

The Federal Government has concluded plans to make COVID-19 vaccination compulsory, beginning with public servants.

“The Federal Government shall, very shortly, unveil its decision on mandatory vaccination for every employee in its service,” said Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha.

The SGF disclosed this, yesterday, at a meeting between the Federal Government and Commissioners of Health, in Abuja.

He said: “The vaccine mandate obviously will come. Before now, the simple yellow fever vaccine, you could not travel the world without the card, until Nigeria was exited from the list of endemic countries. Therefore, the world is gravitating towards that direction. I can tell you that by the time the Western world vaccinates its people, you can’t get into any of the countries without the vaccine certificate. It has started happening in the European Union. They have created some waivers for people that have been vaccinated. It is better we begin to prepare people at home.”

THIS came as a coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) queried the alleged N194.89 billion COVID-19 spending shortfall in Delta, Enugu, Sokoto and Kaduna.

According to the transparency and accountability group, out of N209.61 billion allocated for COVID-19 related spending across the four states, only N14.73 billion was disbursed, leading to a shortfall of N194.89 billion.

A representative of Follow The Money International, Pearl Utuk, who revealed the findings from a survey championed by BudgIT and other accountability groups, yesterday, in Abuja, said, while an allocation of N50.13 billion was earmarked for COVID-19 related spending in Delta State 2020 budget, only N4.92 billion was expended, creating a shortfall of N41.21 billion.

Utuk said: “In the same light, the Enugu State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, the body saddled with the responsibility of administering the COVID-19 vaccine in the state, got zero out of the N1.45 billion allocated to it for capital spending in 2020, according to the 2020 Financial Statement of the Office of the Accountant General of Enugu State.

“Sokoto received N1.17 billion as COVID-19 donations from different sources and allocated N525.47 million to COVID-19 related initiatives. In the same light, Kaduna State spent just N9.29 billion out of its N156.86 billion COVID-19 budget, with N6.53 billion spent on health and N171.54 billion on social protection.”

MEANWHILE, the Federal Government, through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), has coopted traditional leaders to reduce vaccine hesitancy and misinformation and improve health indices in the country.

Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this in his keynote address, yesterday, at the inauguration of the South West Traditional Leader’s Committee on Primary Health Care Delivery, held at Ooni of Ife Palace, Ile Ife, Osun State.

In his opening remarks, Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, said traditional leaders would continue to support the government in all aspects, especially the health sector.

Also, Mr. Chukwu Ekwe, Head of Sales, Marketing and Vaccines, Zolon Healthcare Limited (Emzor), has said Nigeria can produce vaccines to meet global standards if government provides the right environment and support.

He said this during the working visit of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria to Emzor Ultra Modern Pharmaceutical factory in Sagamu, Ogun State.

“Emzor vaccine is a vision. Currently, we are importing vaccines from outside the shore of Nigeria. The long-term vision is that we will start manufacturing vaccines on this site. We are currently working on this to be sited on a 60-hectare site and we intend to ensure vaccines are manufacture here. With the support of the government and enabling environment, we will be able. We have started working with partners from other countries in technology transfer to make this happen,” he said.

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