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FG spends $298.5m for procurement of J&J vaccines, says Health Minister

…urges striking doctors to return to work
…says govt. not considering fresh lockdown

In order to further combat the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) in the country, the Federal Government has ordered the procurement of 40 million doses of Johnson and Johnson COVID-19vaccines at the cost of $298.5 million.

Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, made this disclosure Tueday at a Ministerial Briefing organised by the Presidential Communication Team at the Presidential Villa.

The minister, who disclosed that government had received the first batch of 176,000 doses of the vaccines, added that the second batch of inoculation, which was suspended last week, would unfailingly commence on Monday.

Ehanire explained that the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which is single dose as opposed to the AstraZeneca variant earlier administered, would be administered on itinerant workers who may not be available for double doses and those in the riverine areas.

The minister alerted that there have been reports that some unscrupulous persons have been faking the vaccines in some other countries just as he cautioned the people against patronage of unofficial channels for their COVID-19 jabs.

He assured that the government had been sourcing her vaccines from designated manufacturers in order to checkmate incidences of faking.

Responding to question on what the government was doing to address the issue of the striking doctors in the country, the minister lamented that Nigeria remains the only country in the world where doctors were embarking on strikes in the middle of national health emergency.

While pleading with the striking doctors to return to work and embrace negotiation, Ehanire said the government’s threat to invoke ‘No work, no pay’ doctrine was legal and consistent with the International Labour Organisation (ILO)’s recommendation.

Responding to question on whether the government was considering another lockdown due to the third wave of COVID-19, the minister said such would be the last measure because doing so would stifle the economy and restrict people’s freedom.

 

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