Bill Gates Advises Nigeria To Wait For GAVI Vaccines
Microsoft Co-founder, Bill Gates, has advised the Nigerian government against diverting its limited health fund into trying to pay a high price for COVID-19 vaccines, says Nigeria does not need to spend too much on acquiring COVID-19 vaccines but should rather focus more on revitalising the weak and underfunded health sector especially the primary health care centres.
Gates gave the advice on Tuesday night, 26, January 2021, during a virtual press conference ahead of the launch of the 2021 Bill and Melinda Gates Annual Letters.
He said waiting for the GAVI vaccines would be the best thing for Nigeria, and investing proposed vaccine funds into other health-related areas would assist to deepen vaccine coverage and save lives.
Gavi is a global Vaccine Alliance that brings together public and private sectors, creating equal access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries.
Gavi is co-leading COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator. This involves coordinating the COVAX Facility, a global risk-sharing mechanism for pooled procurement and equitable distribution of eventual COVID-19 vaccines.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, had in December informed the Senate that Nigeria would require over N400bn to vaccinate 70 per cent of Nigeria’s population at $8 per vaccine.
When asked if it was appropriate for Nigeria to spend such a huge sum of money on vaccine acquisition in the midst of other issues plaguing the health sector,
Gates said, “There is no doubt that the impact of putting money into the health system particularly the primary healthcare system will be very high in terms of saving children’s lives and you are absolutely right.
“Nigeria should not divert the very limited money that it has for health into trying to pay a high price for COVID vaccines.”
Gates said Nigeria could also rely largely on groups like GAVI the Vaccine Alliance for COVID-19 vaccines.
He argued that investing in the primary health system would improve coverage and build Nigeria’s response in tackling other diseases.