NGF distances self from comments made by Yahaya Bello on COVID-19 vaccines
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THE Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) has distanced itself from comments made by Yahaya Bello, Kogi State governor, condemning the use of COVID-19 vaccine.
Bello, who has consistently denied the existence of COVID-19 in his state, was seen addressing a crowd of supporters in a viral video last week, expressing doubts on the authenticity of the vaccine and alluding that there was no cure for Covid-19, HIV and many other diseases troubling mankind.
Citing a 1996 Pfizer vaccine in Kano that had an adverse effect on its recipients, the governor stressed that the vaccine was intended to introduce diseases that would kill Nigerians and the rest of the world.
“Vaccines are being produced in less than one year of COVID-19. There is no vaccine yet for HIV, malaria, cancer, headache and for several other diseases that are killing us. They want to use the (COVID-19) vaccines to introduce the disease that will kill you and us. God forbid,” he had said.
“We should draw our minds back to what happened in Kano during the Pfizer polio vaccines that crippled and killed our children. We have learned our lessons.
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“If they say they are taking the vaccines in the public, allow them take their vaccines. Don’t say I said you should not take it, but if you want to take it, open your eyes before you take the vaccines.”
But, Kayode Fayemi, governor of Ekiti State, who also doubles as the chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), said in a communique issued after the end of a virtual meeting of the NGF held on Wednesday but made public on Thursday, that the Forum would only be guided by science and take decisions with public and professional trust.
“On the ill-fated pronouncement made by a member of the Forum regarding the Covid-19 vaccine in a national daily, the Forum totally and categorically dissociated itself from the statement, emphasising that the Forum will continue to be informed and guided by science and will ensure that every decision it takes retains public and professional trust and is not compromised by conflicts of interest,” he said.
Nigeria to receive COVID-19 in February
Fayemi also revealed that Nigeria and 12 other African countries had been selected to benefit from the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines for developing countries by the end of February.
Fayemi said it was discussed during his meeting with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, board chair of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations. He noted that Nigeria had expressed its readiness to benefit from the arrangement made by the World Health Organization (WHO) for vaccines procurement through COVAX.
“The NGF Chairman, Kayode Fayemi, briefed State governors on a meeting with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, chair of the Board of Gavi, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations, on the rollout of the COVAX facility which is a global risk-sharing mechanism co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the World Health Organization to facilitate pooled procurement and the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across developing countries,” he said.
“Nigeria is among 12 countries in Africa that have indicated readiness of the 92 qualified countries for the facility and will by end of February 2021 receive its first shipment of vaccines.”
He added the vaccines would first be administered to frontline health workers, the aged and persons with underlying medical conditions.
“The National Primary Health Care Development Agency has indicated that vaccines will be administered in four phases, based on vaccine type and availability, initially for frontline health workers, then the aged (55yrs and above), persons with underlying medical conditions and other target groups.”