By Abujah Racheal
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Girls Act, on Monday called on world leaders to ensure that all countries had equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Ms Maryam Wakari, member of the AHF Girls Act, Abuja Chapter, made the call during a media campaign tagged “Vaccinate Our World” (VOW) in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that, AHFGirls Act is one of the identified adolescents intervention that drives at providing young people with optimal health outcomes with girls themselves at the driver seat.
Waziri said COVID-19 vaccines’ inequity would have lasting and profound impact on socio-economic recovery in low and low-middle income countries.
She acknowledged the good work of COVAX, which was procuring and financing vaccines for developing countries on a global risk sharing mechanism for pooled procurement and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
But she said if a greater coverage was required to ensure a stop to the spread of COVID-19, there was a need to reduce the financial burden on most vulnerable countries.
She stressed that some countries were already considering booster doses, which indicated that COVID-19 vaccinations may become a recurring expense for countries.
“Let’s not forget that vaccination rates that currently exist are disproportionately unfair to poorer countries,” she stressed.
She noted that the VOW campaign was initiated to address the disparity in COVID-19 vaccine access between wealthy nations and those with lower economic status.
“The pandemic has become one of the most serious global public health emergencies globally.
“However, the sudden emergence and rapid spread of the virus has underlined the importance of international cooperation and global governance in proffering a solution.
“Every world citizen deserves to live irrespective of race, colour and social economic status,” Waziri said.
Ms Patience Asher, also member of Girls Act, said if the world must fight the COVID-19 pandemic and the future epidemic, vaccine production must, therefore, be increased across the globe.
“As the world continues to adjust to the new normal brought on by the pandemic around the world, there has been overwhelming focus on COVID-19 containment by governments, philanthropists, private companies, scientists among others.
“However, there is need to secure sufficient doses of the vaccines, especially to Africa and developing countries in order to save lives; prevent further deaths and restore livelihoods.
“As we continue to appeal to world leader’s to step up their contributions, and ensure availability and accessibility of vaccines to save lives and prevent further deaths,” Asher said.
She explained that less than two million Nigerians had been vaccinated out of over two hundred million people.
“So far Nigeria has received additional four million and eighty (4,000,080) Moderna vaccines doses donated by the United State of America, and also received 699,760 doses of Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines, a donation by the United Kingdom(UK) government.
“The first shipment of 177,600 of Johnson and Johnson vaccines doses From African Union, a single-shot vaccines under the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT), has also been received in the country and there is need for more.
“The county still needs more, like other African countries. Therefore, there is a need to promote international cooperation and establish a framework to ensure equal access of the COVID-19 vaccines,” Asher appealed.
Narrating her experience during the locked down, Ms Joy Oboyi, a member of the foundation, described how the lockdown during the peak of first wave of the pandemic in the country impacted negatively on her and her family.
“At the peak of the pandemic during during the first wave of the lockdown in Nigeria, it was difficult for us to feed because my dad’s business was closed and my mum who is a teacher wasn’t paid.
“My Sister also lost her job and we had no means of earning income, but today on behalf of myself and family, we will want to appreciate the AHF for reaching out to us with palliatives.
“Also my aunt who lived outside the country contracted the virus and there was also a lot of apprehension in the family because we were scared of losing her.
“But with the availability of the vaccine and healthcare in the country where she resides, she was able to survive it. This is why all Nigerians need to avail themselves and get inoculated,” she advised.
Aboyi, however, said the vaccines should be declared as public good and human right, as lives needed to be protected, especially the vulnerable groups in the country. (NAN)