COVID-19 Vaccines

Experts lament inequity in distribution, administration of COVID-19 Vaccines

*Healthcare professionals have expressed concerns over alleged cases of discrimination in the distribution and administration of COVID-19 Vaccines globally, and low level of awareness about the doses for especially Nigerians living in the rural areas

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

Concerned about the apparent unequal access to the much needed doses for vaccination by billions of consumers worldwide, healthcare experts have lamented cases of discrimination observed in the distribution and administration of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccines.

ConsumerConnect gathered the experts, who spoke in Abuja, FCT, in a media chat interrogated the low level of awareness about the vaccine for especially Nigerians living in the rural areas.

Coronavirus vaccination

Out of over 1.3 billion COVID-19 Vaccines the authorities noted have been administered worldwide, 83 percent of them have gone to a handful of wealthy countries, maintaining that low-income countries, especially on the African continent which received a meagerly 0.3 percent of the lot.

Dr. Echey Ijezie, Country Programme Director of Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF), at the forum disclosed that his organisation initiated the Vaccinate Our World’ (VOW) campaign to create awareness and ensure that there is equity and equal access to vaccines between the developed and developing countries.

Ijezie said: “AHF have been shouting and making this statement clearly through the VOW campaign that the gap has to be bridged. We will continue to push to ensure that these demands are met.”

He urged the Nigerian Government to adopt public health communication strategies in order to make consumers especially rural dwellers to accept the vaccines when available.

The AHF Country Programme Director further stated: “There is a gap that has to be bridged and that gap is between the availability of the vaccine and our own people accepting it which can be done by adopting public health communication strategies which must be done effectively because if the vaccines are available and people are not coming forward to take it, it’s discouraging.”

Ijezie further called on the Nigerian Government to urge world leaders, vaccine manufacturers, and public health organisations to protect humanity by providing access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide, particularly in lower-income countries.

Martin Adekunle Egbanubi, General Secretary, Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP), who noted that the desire of the richest countries to protect themselves leaving vulnerable ones to perish was unacceptable, demanded an increase in the production of vaccine in the global South.

Egbanubi stated that the major component of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 is to ensure that citizens are living healthy in other to reduce mortality in all ramifications.

The NUAHP Secretary also said that he noticed cases of discrimination in the distribution and administration of vaccines in Nigeria as well as a low level of awareness for those in the rural areas.

Egbanubi called for a scenario whereby the Nigerian Government will invest heavily in research and development, adding, the country cannot continue to rely on the world’s richest countries in times of emergency.

“We cannot continue to rely on Europe and America to bail us out whenever there is an emergency.

“And we must make sure that the political will is there to drive the process, because if we produce our own vaccine definitely more people will be administered,” he noted.

Ms. Ize Adava, Chairman, Civil Society Accountability Forum, in her remarks, said rural dwellers were not accepting the vaccine because those sent to administer the vaccine were not taken, maintained that vaccine inequity must be eliminated.

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