Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Saturday disclosed that he had mapped out a plan to vaccinate at least 30 per cent of the state’s population within one year.
Sanwo-Olu also challenged the world leaders to work towards equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution to people everywhere, especially in the world’s poorest countries.
The governor, who made these remarks yesterday at the Global Citizen Live event in celebration of healthcare workers who are at the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic, also restated the state’s commitment to prioritising vaccine equity among its entire population.
Global Citizen Live is part of a once-in-a-generation day of unity with artists, celebrities, and world leaders coming together to create change and impact climate and poverty.
The 24-hour broadcast event featured performances and speeches from locations around the world, including Lagos, London, Los Angeles, New York City, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Seoul, Sydney, and more.
A-list Nigerian artists, Femi Kuti, Davido, Tiwa Savage, Made Kuti and Seun Kuti all performed at the Lagos show hosted by TV personalities Ebuka Obi-Uchendu and Nancy Isime.
Speaking at the concert, Sanwo-Olu said a substantial proportion of a population would need to be vaccinated to lower the overall amount of virus which can spread in the whole population.
According to him, it is important that the world’s most populous black country and, indeed, the megacity Lagos, achieve herd immunity at the same time as all countries.
In Lagos, Sanwo-Olu explained that 405,000 persons “have received the first dose of AstraZeneca and these 289,000 have had their second dose. For Moderna, we have administered the first dose to 230,000 persons.
“This gives us about a 1.2 percent herd immunity, which is far below the minimum WHO target of 60 percent of the population,” the governor told his audience at the concert.
At the current rate, Sanwo-Olu said it would take about three years “to achieve our herd immunity target of vaccination of at least 60 percent of our population. We cannot continue at this speed if we seriously want to beat this virus.
“Lagos State will commit to prioritising vaccine equity among its entire population. We plan to partner with the private sector once again to procure, store, distribute and administer vaccines across the state under the guidance of federal and state government laws.
“We propose to reserve and administer 50 per cent of the vaccines procured in partnership with the private sector to be made available free of charge at government health centres.
“With this approach, we expect to vaccinate 30 percent of the population of Lagos State within one year. This will put us on a better and more sustainable path towards herd immunity,” the governor disclosed.
Sanwo-Olu said: “Unequal distribution of vaccines, where richer nations have secured more doses than the size of their populations and are now considering and preparing to roll out booster shots, while poorer countries struggle to administer first doses, threatening efforts to end the pandemic for everyone everywhere.
“Vaccine equity is the only way for the pandemic to end for all of us and to do this we must ensure that vaccines are available to all, especially poorer countries that have had to struggle with supply.”
He added that Lagos State “will commit to prioritising vaccine equity among its entire population. We plan to partner with the private sector once again to procure, store, distribute and administer vaccines across the State under the guidance of federal and state government laws.”
Meanwhile, the Finance Minister of Finance and Budget Planning, Zainab Ahmed, lauded Global Citizens for its humanitarian activities across the world.
She said, “Through various initiatives, we have deployed tools to scale social safety net programmes, to mitigate the risk of children – particularly girls – not returning to school, and to support small businesses and safeguard jobs.”
Earlier, Global Citizen Co-Founder and CEO, Hugh Evans, had restated its commitment to ending the challenges facing the world.
“There is a light at the end of this tunnel, but getting vaccines to everyone, everywhere regardless of who they are or where they are from, is key to ensuring the end of this pandemic around the world. We must all unite to get back on track to eradicating extreme poverty,” he said
The United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, also reiterated the need for improved access to vaccines in ending the devastating effects of COVID-19.
She said, “It is imperative that more resources are made available, that surpluses from wealthier nations are shared immediately with frontline workers in lower income countries, and that the production of vaccines is accelerated.
“Considerable efforts have been made by the African Union envoy and it will take even greater international coordination and closer collaboration over the coming months to ensure that vaccines are made available to the world’s vulnerable people,” she said.
The Group Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe, said the lender was committed to tackling climate change, poverty, among other challenges.
He said: “When disaster strikes, the most affected are the world’s poorest and most marginalized. Therefore, in Access Bank, we are committed to building a sustainable and brighter future for all.”