From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
The Federal Government on Friday said Kogi State was not yet ready to receive the Astra Zeneca Vaccines.
The government said Kogi lacked storage facilities for cold chain, security, logistics and personnel to administer the vaccines.
Minister of State For Health, Dr. Adeleke Olorunnibe Mamora stated this in Asaba while fielding questions from newsmen shortly after inaugurating capital projects at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Asaba, Delta State.
The capital projects include Molecular Biology Laboratory, 15-Room Intensive Care Unit, 40-Room House Officers’ Quarter/Seminar Room and 17-Room Guest House.
Mamora stated that the FG made it clear that it will not force to take vaccine but will continue to appeal for their own interest.
“Aside that, in Kogi that you mentioned specifically, one of the reasons why the vaccines have not be sent there is because during the #EndSARS crisis, some of their facilities were violently destroyed.
“So as we speak, they don’t even have facilities for storage to maintain cold chain. So that is one of the reasons why Kogi has not be supplied.
“And we did say from the onset, that in giving out the vaccines, states would ensure a number of things – readiness in terms of cold chain facility, logistics, security, personnel to administer the vaccine. So it is because Kogi State is not ready at this point in time,” he said.
On suspension of the vaccine in some European countries, Mamora said it was political, insisting that the Oxford Astra Zeneca Vaccine is safe and efficient.
“One thing I will say as a personal opinion which I am not afraid to express, is I won’t be surprised if politics is involved because of Brexit and what have you.
“But that is not the most important thing, the most thing is that even the European Medicine Agency has come out to say the vaccine is safe and efficient. That is the most important thing.
“If you have given close to 20 million vaccination, and you have maybe less than 20,000, what percentage of the over 20 million is the 20,000? That is infinitesimal.
“I need to say that every drug is a potential poison but when you give a drug or a vaccine, it is because you have weighed the therapeutic advantages against the side effects.
“So if the balance tilts in favour of the advantage, you will go for it as a clinician or medical doctor. And that is what is happening with the Astra Zeneca Vaccines. It is the genuine, don’t forget that we said we are not going to allow private sector involvement because we want to take absolute responsibility.
“We can verify the source. Don’t forget, the FG signed an indemnity clause, that is we will take responsibility,” he noted.