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Nigerians risk global Covid-19 travel ban, Senate warns

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PIB passes first reading in Senate

The Nigerian Senate has warned that failure by the Federal Government to administer COVID-19 vaccines to its citizens may lead to other countries imposing travel ban on Nigerians.

The warning was contained in a motion on Thursday moved at plenary by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Ibrahim Oloriegbe, who lamented that apart from the pledge by Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative to provide Covid-19 vaccines, Nigeria had not produced a plan for the procurement, distribution and administration of the vaccines to Nigerians

Titled “Urgent need for Nigeria to obtain and administer COVlD-19 vaccines to its citizens”, the motion, which was adopted by the Senate, advised that to avoid a global travel ban on Nigerians, the Federal Government should make budgetary provision to procure and administer COVID-19 vaccines.

Senator Oloriegbe, who argued before the Senate that Nigeria had no plan for the procurement, distribution and administration of the vaccine, also expressed concern that compliance with COVID-19 preventive measures such hand washing, wearing of face masks and social distancing had diminished.

READ ALSO: Senate reacts to claims members collected N20m as COVID-19 palliative from NDDC

Oloriegbe also told the Senate that while some countries had approved vaccines for COVID-19 and were administering the vaccine to their citizens; many others had completed plans on the procurement, distribution and administration of the vaccines to their citizens.

He said; “This support will cover only the cost of the vaccines without taking care of logistics requirements for distribution and administration.

“Despite the change in the epidemiology trends of the disease, the financial plan developed by the country and World Bank in April 2020 to fund the response to the pandemic was still being implemented without taking due cognizance to the changes by re-allocating the funds to vaccine procurement.

“Failure to administer vaccines to Nigerians will result in the country not being able to control the COVID-19 infection and a possible ban on travelling by Nigerians may be instituted by countries around the world.

“The consequence of non-administration of the vaccines to Nigerians will include worsening social and economic situations, ” Oloriegbe added.

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