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Buhari accuses developed countries of COVID-19 vaccine hoarding

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

President Muhammadu Buhari has alleged that leaders of developed nations were hoarding the Coronavirus vaccine, leaving the developing nations battling with the pandemic to experience drought in jabs.

Buhari hinted that they embarked on the hoarding after their earlier prediction that Nigeria and other African countries would be worse hit by the pandemic globally, a forecast that never came to pass.

He urged the leadership of these nations hoarding the vaccine to desist from these acts and accelerate the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines globally.

The president made the accusation while addressing Nigerians on Friday as part of the activities marking the country’s 61st Independence anniversary.

He said: “I will take this opportunity to remind the global community that the current state of access to COVID-19 vaccines is unacceptable. We cannot afford a situation where a handful of countries keep the global vaccine supply to themselves at the expense of other nations.

“We must act now to accelerate the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. This is the message I conveyed to the international community in New York last week”.

The president noted that in spite of the global inequity in access to vaccines, efforts were been made by his administration to explore all available options that would ensure the availability of the vaccines.

According to him, some five million vaccine doses have been administered to Nigerians through efforts led by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency and we will continue to explore options for purchase or acquisition of vaccines such as through COVAX and the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust.

“I will therefore appeal to Nigerians not to take COVID lightly, adhere to public health and social measures, put your mask on, and get vaccinated. We can control this pandemic, but it requires effort on everybody’s part. The investments we made in response to COVID-19 will also serve our country to tackle any future disease outbreaks or pandemics.

“As we push to source vaccines for our immediate needs, we shall invest more to support our pharmaceutical and research agencies to come up with ideas for locally developed vaccines. Should another pandemic arise in the future, Our question is simple; will Nigeria be ready?

“Accordingly, I have directed the Ministries of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Health, Education and Science and Technology to work with Nigerian and International pharmaceutical companies and research organisations to enhance Nigeria’s domestic pharmaceutical capacity.

“Already, the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority is raising a $200 million fund for this initiative that will complement the Central Bank of Nigeria’s ongoing N85 billion Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention Scheme to support local researchers in the development of vaccines and drugs to combat communicable and non-communicable diseases, including COVID-19”.

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