COVID-19: We Are Monitoring All Funds – Senate

The Senate yesterday urged Nigerians not to shun COVID-19 vaccine, saying it is monitoring all funds donated and allocated for the fight against COVID-19.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe during a press conference at the National Assembly yesterday said this.
The conference was to inform Nigerians on the forthcoming Annual Legislative Summit on Health which is to be attended by all relevant stakeholders in the country.
He said the legislature is carrying out it’s oversight functions adding that they are trailing the spending on COVID-19.
“The allocation to the health sector from the intervention fund is about N86 billion while the remainder was for the other Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) relevant to the efforts at curbing the pandemic.
“Monitoring the utilisation of the fund in the health sector is easy. We are looking at specific interventions in designated health facilities and ensuring that the funds were also deployed to case management since COVID-19 patients were supposed to be treated free of charge at the public health facilities,” he said.
Oloriegbe said the fund was meant to boost research and development of vaccines through the funding of relevant activities being undertaken by institutions such as the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Nigeria Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) and the Nigeria Institute for Medical Laboratory Technology (NIMLT) among others.
He said that contrary to the perception in some quarters that the focus on COVID-19 would result in the neglect of other diseases plaguing Nigeria, the pandemic must be seen as an opportunity to address many other health challenges in the country.
“The important thing is for us to tackle the present challenge and also use this opportunity to equip our health facilities to be able to cope with other challenges because there could be another pandemic in the future,” he said.
Oloriegbe urged Nigerians not to be apprehensive about taking the COVID-19 vaccines, insisting that they were very safe having passed the necessary regulatory checks before being rolled out.
“The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and Nigerians need not fear about taking the jabs. After all, over the years, we have been administering various vaccines meant to prevent the five childhood diseases. We have been administering BCG, Oral Polio vaccines and these vaccines are not produced in Nigeria. So why were we not afraid that those vaccines will kill our children?
“As scientists, we have said it several times; nobody will deliberately produce a vaccine to kill people. The process of producing vaccines are standarised and transparent. Besides, we have regulatory bodies that monitor the development of any vaccine to ensure that the end-product are safe and efficacious,” Oloriegbe added.

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