As the world anticipates the deployment of the Covid-19 vaccine, Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has called for an equitable distribution of the vaccine such that it is made available at an affordable and in an accessible manner.
He made this call during the recent virtual 2020 EURAFRICA Forum which featured presentations from notable global leaders including the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Antonio Guterres, and the Prime Minister of Cape Verde, Mr. Ulisses Correia Silva, among others speakers.
The Eurafrican Forum aims to foster stronger collaboration between Europe and Africa and to also promote a shared green and inclusive growth, among other objectives.
Speaking on the distribution of the vaccine, he stated that the deployment of the vaccine should not be on the basis of the highest bidder; rather it should be done in an equitable and affordable manner in order to effectively contain the spread of the Coronavirus disease across the globe. To this end, he appealed to Europe to work closely with Africa.
According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, Osinbajo is quoted thus: ‘‘this is a matter that should not be taken for granted. We saw during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, in richer parts of the world, that orders for test kits and reagents by African countries were deemed too small and tended to be ignored.” Thus, he beckoned on the European Union to support the initiatives aimed at promoting vaccines to poorer countries.
With reference to Nigeria, Osinbajo said that the country does not have the resources to prepay for the Covid-19 vaccine. However, he said, ‘’we are fortunate to be a GAVI-supported country and we urge the EU to lend support to GAVI’s effort to ensure equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines under the COVAX initiative. This way, poorer countries and their citizens will get the vaccines that they need at the same time as the rest of the world.”
In terms of mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, he stressed that Nigeria’s priority is to ward off a deep recession. As a matter of fact, Nigeria developed an Economic Sustainability Plan which consists of measures to support local businesses retain and create jobs that will improve the circumstances of the most vulnerable.