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FG blames politics for delay in state vaccine plans

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… FG not sincere – states

FEDERAL Government yesterday blamed politics and logistics due to no fault of Nigerians for the delay in the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines in the country.

  The allegation is coming on the heel of failure by most states to make their own plans for the vaccine.

  The Executive Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib, who disclosed this, said the country would later in the year receive 42 million free doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

  It will be recalled that Federal Government had on January 5 said it was expecting 100,000 doses of free Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine after Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, had earlier on December 22, 2020 told the Senate that the Federal Government would need about N40 billion to vaccinate 70 per cent of Nigerians.

  But Federal Government had yet to submit a budget proposal for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine to the National Assembly. Besides the delay at the federal level, there were indications that state governments would solely depend on federal government as they were not making their own plans to procure the vaccine with Lagos and Oyo as the only exceptions in making independent plans to procure COVID-19 vaccine.

  Meanwhile, officials of Plateau, Delta, Ekiti, Gombe, Cross River and Bauchi States in separate interviews said they had not made any plan to buy the vaccine, but  would depend on allocations from the Federal Government.

  But Lagos and Oyo states, had two weeks ago, said they were making independent plans to buy doses of COVID-19 vaccine in addition to the allocations expected from Federal Government.

  According to Plateau State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Nimkong Lar, it was not ready to buy additional vaccines from elsewhere.

  “We are expecting to get our own share of the COVID-19 vaccines from the ones ordered by the Federal Government. As it is, Plateau State Government has no plans to purchase more vaccines from elsewhere,” Lar said.

  Also, Delta State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Mordi Ononye, said the state would not buy additional doses of vaccines.

  “We are getting all our vaccine through Federal Government, this is the first phase. As the doses of the vaccine come, they will be allocated to states based on the number of COVID-19 cases,” he said.

  Similarly, Coordinator of Kano State Task Force on COVID-19, Dr .Tijjani Hussaini, the state government had no plan to purchase COVID-19 vaccine.

  “As a government, Kano state does not have any plan to purchase COVID-19 vaccine. Since the Federal Government would provide the vaccine to states as promised, the state government had no intention of procuring the commodity from anywhere. The Federal Government is getting grants from donor agencies, so it is the responsibility of the Federal Government to provide the vaccine for states,” he said.

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