Former Senator, Shehu Sani, has said the Nigerian government’s planned $400 billion allocation for COVID-19 vaccine may be a waste of resources due to exploitation.
Sani, who spoke on Wednesday at the launch of National Ear Care Centre (NECC) magazine in Kaduna, noted that Nigeria does not have the facilities required for the COVID-19 vaccine and might not achieve any success because of the conditions attached to the vaccine.
He revealed that the $400 billion COVID-19 vaccine to be imported requires that it should be kept at – 70 degree celsius (-70°C), which is seemingly impossible to achieve in Nigeria.
He said, “ln layman’s knowledge of temperature, if you put it in the fridge, that’s all. What’s the temperature of the normal fridge? By the time you move the vaccine from Lagos to Katsina, Sokoto, Maiduguri, Yola, among others, for how many days, and which electricity are you going to use to keep the vaccine for the temperature of -70 degree in Nigeria.”
He also queried the rationale behind importing the vaccine when the temperature required for keeping it potent is unavailable.
“What’s the essence of importing vaccine you have no temperature to install? Except everybody will line up in the airport and take the shot immediately it lands and go back. But if it has to go to Gombe and Yola, for how many days will it pass through the bureaucracy?
“Sometimes you have to put in place all these considerations before you do something, if not, you’ll be vaccinating people with water,” Sani said.
The former lawmaker urged the NECC to advise politicians on the right step, adding that “centres like this have a role to play by way of advising politicians on what to do.”
He also said the NECC has a role to play to save the country’s foreign exchange from being blown away through medical tourism to places like Egypt; Dubai, UAE; Indonesia; India, among others.
“We are so exploited now. If not for this pandemic, we don’t believe in our medical professionals. We don’t also believe in our public health care centres like this NECC. We have a place like this but people will prefer to go to the one far away for the same service because they believe that the other one can do the work excellently because it’s in India. That’s how our people are being exploited,” he said.