The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has disclosed that the country would be needing about N400 billion to vaccinate Nigerians against coronavirus pandemic and prevent its second wave spread.
He indicated that apart from the vaccination, the earmarked amount was also meant to build resilience in the nation’s health system and strengthen its health emergency response.
Ehanire also assured Nigerians of the Federal Government’s readiness to carry out a successful COVID-19 vaccination to save the lives of citizens and mitigate its unimaginable disaster.
Speaking on Monday in Abuja while briefing the Senate leadership on the Buhari-led administration’s plans to procure COVID-19 vaccines worth N400 billion for citizens, the minister said that the government was committed to protecting lives of Nigerians from all diseases.
He said that about N400 billion would be required to vaccinate 70 percent of Nigeria’s 211 million population, at eight dollars per person.
According to him, N156 billion will be needed in 2021 while N200 billion in 2022, and since we successfully fought polio, we will use the same storage facilities (cold chains) to store the COVID-19 vaccines.
Furthermore, he urged the Senate to have confidence in the government plan for the COVID-19 vaccine campaign.
In his remarks, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, expressed doubt over the ability of the Federal Ministry of Health to effectively store and distribute the COVID-19 vaccines when they arrive in the country.
Lawan said the National Assembly was ready to support the funding of adequate vaccines to save Nigerians.
He noted that officials of the Ministry of Health must convince the parliament that they had adequate facilities and manpower to protect the preventive substance.
“I have not been convinced with your presentation that we are ready to bring in the vaccines. You have to do much more to convince me that we are ready,” he added.