Nigerian Federal Government has announced plans to make COVID-19 vaccination compulsory for public service employees.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, who spoke today, September 2 in Abuja during a conference organised by the Forum of Health Commissioners in Nigeria said that the move was aimed at avoiding government personnel being rejected from attending functions in other countries.
“I can tell you that by the time the western world vaccinates its people, you can’t get into any of the Western countries without vaccination.
“It has started happening in the European Union dispensation now. They have created some waivers for people that have been vaccinated. It is better we begin to prepare people at home.
“One of the reasons we want to do that with federal civil servants is because they will be traveling to perform roles on behalf of the Federal Government.”
He explained that although the process will be gradual, the government will make sure that vaccines are made available and accessible to all before implementing the protocol.
According to him, the United Nations General Assembly will be starting very soon which will require the attendance of some government officials.
“Assuming the American Government says that you can’t come into the US unless you are vaccinated, and we have not provided vaccinations for our people, how will they go and prepare grounds for the meetings that will be attended by the President and other top government officials?
“It is a sequential thing and we are taking one step at a time. We realized we do not have sufficient vaccine, so we will not be able to impose those kinds of mandates on an automatic basis; it has to take some time and we will make sure that the vaccines are available and are deployed to the appropriate places and people will have the opportunity of getting the vaccines before we now impose the mandatory nature of whether you have vaccines or not before you can access government facilities.”
Boss Mustapha, commenting on the ongoing doctors strike, appealed to them to embrace dialogue and be patient, even as the government works to fulfill their demands.
“I will continue to appeal to the doctors that in the midst of a pandemic, any form of strike is unnecessary because already people are dealing with something that is beyond your control.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is a thing that is beyond anybody’s control, and it is not even in the hands of the government. Therefore, we can resolve these issues and we can make every effort to ensure that these strikes are totally avoidable.”
In her remark, the Chairman of the Forum of Health Commissioners in Nigeria, Betta Edu, stressed on the need stakeholders to promote the call for revolution in the health sector.
The Conference, according to her seeks to provide a platform for all the commissioners of health in the country to develop policies to improve the universal health coverage.