GMD, AGPMPN knock FG over COVID-19 vaccine procurement

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Dayo Ojerinde

The Guild of Medical Director and the Association of Private Medical Practitioners have lamented the Federal Government’s refusal to allow private practitioners to intervene in the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine.

The national presidents of GMD as well as AGPMPN, Prof. Olufemi Babalola and Dr Ugwu Odo, in a separate interview with our correspondent on Tuesday, said the control of the Federal Government on the COVID-19 vaccine procurement had hindered its members from intervening in the process.

Babalola said, “The Federal Government said they have not given any individual permission to procure COVID-19 vaccine. It is inevitable that some private entrepreneurs will want to go into the vaccine business and knowing our government for what it is, they probably cannot handle the situation by themselves.

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“That was the way they wanted to monopolise the test and treatment of COVID-19, but at the end of the day, most of the test and treatment are now being done in private facilities. We’ve always emphasised to the government, that the idea of restricting private entrepreneurs from health care at whatever level will be counter-productive.”

Odo said the Federal Government may not be able to procure enough vaccines for the citizens, hence the need for the intervention of the private sector.

He said, “As things stand now, the government is still censoring, controlling and regulating the management of COVID-19 in Nigeria. It has not let go and has, therefore, not allowed people to discretionally intervene.

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“We recommend, alongside our government, that the vaccine should be administered to Nigerians, but it is also important for the government to exercise caution. Yes, there are vaccines, but we don’t produce any; like most other things in our environment, we wait on the West to do the research, then we go and queue to buy.

“Now, China, France, UK, USA are producing vaccines and we have been previleged to see the packages that have been boldly labelled on the vaccine, like, ‘Not for distribution in Canada, America, France’ and so on. The question is, do we have categories of vaccines? We need to ask this question as intelligent, educated and patriotic people.

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“If panadol for example is panadol, it should be made for everybody, whether white or black. But if you take panadol, and you declare some, ‘not for use in America’ but ‘to go to Africa,’ something is wrong. This is the area we are concerned, and we are calling on our government to please tread with caution, rather than allow ourselves die of man-made complications.”

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