The Federal Government has accused developed countries of frustrating equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccine among poor and developing countries as they criticized them for placing African countries on the red list due to the detection of the new Omicron variant.
According to NAN, this disclosure was made by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Monday in Abuja, at a media briefing on the decision of the UK Government to place Nigeria on its red list over the detection of cases of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 in the country.
Mohammed, who urged the UK authority to immediately rescind its travel restrictions placed on passengers from Nigeria, said that even before the clinical trials of the Covid-19 vaccines were completed, millions of doses of the most promising vaccines have been bought by Britain, US, Japan and the EU.
What the Minister of Information and Culture is saying
Lai Mohammed accused some of the developed countries of buying Covid-19 vaccines that is 5 times the size of their population, while poorer countries, mostly in Africa, have little or no access to these vaccines.
The minister said, “Many developed countries have used the advantage of their enormous resources or relationship to sign agreements with manufacturers to supply their countries with vaccines ahead of making them available for use by other countries.
“Even before the clinical trials were completed, millions of doses of the most promising vaccines have been bought by Britain, US, Japan and the EU.
“Some of these countries bought doses five times the size of their population, while others, mostly in Africa, have little or no access to vaccines.
“This is the real issue to address, instead of choosing the easy path of travel bans, which the UN Secretary-General called Travel Apartheid. Let the world know that no one is safe until everyone is safe.’’
The minister advised that instead of the travel ban which is not driven by science but rather fear, the world should take a serious look at the issue of access to vaccines which should be based on the principles that every human has the right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health.
What you should know
Recall that on Saturday, the United Kingdom joined the likes of Canada, Singapore and Hong Kong to impose travel restrictions on passengers from Nigeria as it placed Nigeria on its red list following the detection of the new Covid-19 Omicron variant in travellers from Nigeria.
While making the announcement, the UK’s Secretary of State for Health, Sajid Javid, via his official Twitter account, said the decision was taken following an increase in the number of cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 across the world. The UK is the third country to impose a travel ban on Nigeria.
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