Falana Hints On Planned Commercialisation Of Covid Vaccines, Urges Due Resistance

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The Alliance for Survival of COVID-19 and Beyond, a coalition of labour and civil society groups being led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has urged Nigerians to resist any attempt by health workers to commercialise Covid vaccines expected in the country anytime soon.

ASCAB Deputy Chairman, Sina Odugbemi, stated this on Tuesday while featuring on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme as monitored by The PUNCH.

Odugbemi said, “When it (vaccine) comes in, people may want to trade with it and there may be a preference for the high and mighty. We should anticipate these things and put in place machinery to ensure that we scale the hurdle because the Nigerian factor will come into play when the vaccines come in.

“There will be special preference. In fact, health officers like we have witnessed may want to find a way of commercialising one thing or the other. But then, once this monster stirs its head, it is the duty of all of us – civil societies, religious organisations and individuals – to ensure that we turn ourselves to self-monitoring groups. All hands must be on the deck.”

The Federal Government in earlier reports had said the first batch of Covid vaccines would arrive in the country between the end of January and February 2021, adding that the vaccines to be used in the country would be safe and effective.

It added that the 100,000 doses of the vaccine being expected in the first batch were for 50,000 Nigerians as the vaccines would be free and would be taken twice by each person at 21 days intervals.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, also said the country would spend N400bn to procure vaccines for the 70 per cent of Nigerians it planned to vaccinate, amid the rising spread of the virus in the dreaded second wave of the pandemic.

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