By Raphael Oni
The fight against the Covid-19 pandemic cannot be effective without the adequate vaccination of the majority of the world population. The European Union said it was going to make available the remaining 40 million euros promised Nigeria to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the outgoing EU head of delegation to Nigeria and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the money will be made available to the country.
Karlsen spoke while briefing newsmen ahead of 2021 Europe Day in Abuja.
He said, “This week we wish to announce that we will avail the remaining 40 million euros of that fund to the vaccine rollout in Nigeria and to support in particular having equitable access to vaccines and to have a better risk communication.”
He stressed, “Last year was a difficult year and it has been difficult for Europe and for Nigeria as well. We have seen lives and livelihood severely impacted. Just look at the dire economic situation for so many ordinary Nigerians. In Fact of the circumstances, we have also seen a year where the partnership between the European Union and Nigeria has really grown to a new dimension. And I think that is worth celebrating in spite of the circumstances.”
He further added, “Team Europe was created in the middle of the pandemic. We were able to mobilise very swiftly an additional support of 50 million euros to Nigeria that was launched last year and we saw how that could support the rollout of the Presidential Task Force and of course support making available medical equipment and generally supporting the bold, but important policy choices that were made.”
The EU has supported the global vaccine roll out with about 2.2billion euros and additional 100 million euros announced for Africa last week.
He also revealed that Europe remains the largest vaccine exporter in the world with 188 million doses.
The center stage is to ensure that no one is left behind, which also includes Africa. If the situation is not handled well in Africa, then nobody will be saved. Citing the situation in India, he said the huge number of those falling are enough pointers that time has not come to relax just yet.
On the debate around the AstraZeneca vaccine, he said the benefit of the vaccine outweighs its disadvantages.