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November 29, 2020

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‘Getting COVID-19 Vaccine, A Matter Of Utmost Concern’

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One of Nigeria’s main priorities now is getting the COVID-19 vaccine and this is a matter of utmost concern to the Buhari administration, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

This was revealed in a press release by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, dated November 12, which was made available to PREMIUM TIMES.

The statement highlighted that the vice president stated this on Thursday at the opening session of the virtual edition of the Paris Peace Forum. The forum featured presentations by some Heads of State & Governments alongside international organizations, on a collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stating what Nigeria’s priorities in its COVID-19 response are, the vice president said, “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.”

According to him, “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.”

Highlighting 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, Mr 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.”

The vice president, had, in previous international forums earlier in the year, made a case for debt relief for developing countries, noting that “the Debt Servicing Support Initiative of the G20 is welcome and will no doubt bring some relief to relevant African countries. However, it remains inadequate because it does not address the problem of commercial debt service obligations.”

He assured that Nigeria stands with all countries of the world, in the effort to eradicate the virus, and leverage experiences for a healthier and more prosperous world.

The Paris Peace Forum is an annual event that features leaders and actors from civil society around the world with a focus on challenges facing the world – climate change, terrorism, migration, cyber insecurity, and global governance issues among others.

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