The Federal Government says it will appeal, rather than force anyone to take the Oxford AstraZeneca Vaccines for COVID -19.
Dr Olorunnibe Mamora, the Minister of State for health, made the disclosure, on Friday, in Asaba, while fielding questions from newsmen shortly after he inaugurated some projects at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Asaba.
Mamora’s comment followed a reporter’s question on why Kogi was yet to take delivery of the vaccine, while most states in the country had received the vaccine.
The minister pointed out that Kogi was not ready to take delivery of the vaccine, while the Federal Government would not compel any state to do so.
According to him, “Kogi lacked storage facilities for cold chain, security, logistics and personnel to administer the vaccines.
“Also, let me state clearly here that from the onset, the Federal Government made it clear that it will not force anyone to take the vaccine, but rather will continue to appeal to people in their own interests.
“Aside that, in Kogi, that you mentioned specifically, one of the reasons the vaccine has not been sent there is because during the #EndSARS crisis, some of their facilities were violently destroyed.
“So, as we speak, Kogi does not even have the facilities for storage to maintain the cold chain. So, that is the reason the state has not been supplied.”
Mamora stated that the government had given conditions to the states, to ensure readiness in terms of cold chain facility, logistics, security and personnel to administer the vaccine, before they could be supplied.
When quizzed on the suspension of the vaccine in some European countries, he said it might be political, insisting that the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine was safe and efficient.
In his words, “One thing I will say as a personal opinion which I am not afraid to express is I won’t be surprised if politics is involved because of Brexit and what have you.
“But that is not the most important thing, the most important thing is that even the European Medicine Agency has come out to say the vaccine is safe and efficient. That is the most important thing.
“If you have given close to 20 million vaccinations and you have maybe less than 20,000, what percentage of the over 20 million is the 20,000? That is infinitesimal.’’
Speaking further, the minister noted that every drug was a potential poison, saying that “when you give a drug or a vaccine, it is because you have weighed the therapeutic advantages against the side effects.
”If the balance tilts in favour of the advantage, you will go for it as a clinician or medical doctor, adding that it’s the situation with the AstraZeneca vaccine.”
He reiterated the government’s position not to allow the private sector, get involved in the distribution and administration of the vaccine, because it wanted to take absolute responsibility.
The minister added, “It is genuine. We can verify the source and don’t forget, the Federal Government signed an indemnity clause, that says we will take responsibility.”