*As Senate President expresses doubts on Ministry’s readiness
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has said that the Federal Government needs about N400 billion to vaccinate 70 percent of Nigeria’s 211 million population: N156 billion will be needed in 2021, N200 billion in 2022.
Dr. Ehanire made this known on Monday in Abuja, while briefing the Senate leadership on the Federal Government plans to procure COVID-19 vaccines for citizens, adding that the government was substantially ready for a successful COVID-19 vaccination to save lives of the citizens.
He also told the Senate that the country, which had successfully fought polio, would use the same storage facilities (cold chains) to store the COVID-19 vaccines, urging the Senate to have confidence in the plan for COVID-19 vaccine campaign.
According to Ehanire, “About N400 billion would be required to vaccinate 70 percent of Nigeria’s 211 million population at eight dollars per person.
“N156 billion will be needed in 2021, while N200 billion in 2022.”
In his remarks, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, expressed doubt over the ability of the Ministry of Health to effectively store and distribute the COVID-19 vaccines, when they arrive in the country.
Lawan said the National Assembly was ready to support the funding of adequate vaccines to save Nigerians.
He noted that officials of the Ministry of Health must convince the parliament that they had adequate facilities and manpower to protect the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I have not been convinced with your presentation that we are ready to bring in the vaccines.
“You have to do much more to convince me that we are ready,” he added.