Nigerian Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday said one of Nigeria’s main priorities now was getting the COVID-19 vaccine. He said this was a matter of utmost concern to the present regime.
According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, the Vice President spoke at the opening of the virtual edition of the Paris Peace Forum which featured presentations by some Heads of State and government alongside international organisations, on a collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The statement was titled “Getting COVID-19 vaccine a matter of utmost concern, says Osinbajo. Akande quoted the Vice President as saying that “The priorities of Nigeria in the post COVID-19 era include improved healthcare and the economy. “First, we need to keep the virus under control. While our guards are still firmly in place, getting the COVID-19 vaccine is a matter of utmost concern.
“On this, we are encouraged by the efforts of WHO and other international agencies working to ensure that vaccine delivery will be equitable across all countries, regardless of the priority of orders and ability to pay.”
Underscoring the importance of prioritising interventions and investments in the healthcare system, the Vice President said “we are encouraging private investment to upscale our health sector, with emphasis on improved facilities and affordable universal healthcare.”
While appreciating leaders across the world for their prompt response and cooperation in controlling the spread of the COVID-19, Osinbajo said “the sheer scale of disruptions to our lives and livelihoods caused by COVID-19 certainly caught us all by surprise.”
Restating the call for debt relief for developing countries, the Vice President said “the pandemic underscores the need for adequate financial buffers to cope with the ‘black swan’ events. For many developing countries, the debt burden makes this all but impossible.
“We call for debt relief for these countries, and the extension of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) at least until the end of 2021 as well as commercial debt relief where needed.”