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Sanwo-Olu advocates COVID-19 vaccine equity at Global Citizen Live

The Lagos State Government targets 30 percent vaccination rate in the state first year.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu advocates COVID-19 vaccine equity at Global Citizen Live.

Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has called on world leaders to work towards equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution to people everywhere — especially in the world’s poorest countries.

Sanwo-Olu, who spoke at the Global Citizen Live event held on Saturday 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 artistes, celebrities and world leaders coming together to create change and impact climate and poverty. The 24-hr broadcast event features 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 artistes, 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.

In his address to the global audience, Sanwo-Olu noted: “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, threaten 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.”

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The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 calls for good health and well-being for all, which cannot be achieved while lower- and middle-income countries have poorer access to vaccines and lower rates of vaccinations because of challenges relating to access, supply and distribution. “Nigeria has only administered about 4,171,989 doses of both AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines. However, only 1,734,103 (1.7%) of the entire population have received a second dose of the vaccine,” the Lagos Governor noted.

To safely achieve herd immunity against COVID-19, a substantial proportion of a population would need to be vaccinated to lower the overall amount of virus able to spread in the whole population. Sanwo-Olu streesed that it is important that the world’s most populous black country and, indeed, the mega-city Lagos, achieves herd immunity at the same time with all countries.

He noted: “In Lagos State, 405,000 persons have received the first dose of Astra Zeneca and of 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% herd immunity, which is far below the minimum WHO target of 60% of the population. At the current rate, it would take about three years to achieve our herd immunity target of vaccination at least 60% of our population. We cannot continue at this speed if we seriously want to beat this virus.”

Sanwo-Olu also stated that Lagos 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. Our proposal is to reserve and administer 50% 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% of the population of Lagos State within one year. This will put us on a better and more sustainable path towards herd immunity.

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Earlier, Global Citizen Co-Founder and CEO, Hugh Evans, had said: “As a global community, we are in a race against time and the key to coming back together is the vaccine. We need to build vaccine confidence in the United States and globally, and encourage people to take the vaccine as quickly as possible. 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.”

United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, also reiterated the need for improved access to vaccines in ending the devastating effects of COVID-19. “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.

Global Citizen Live is part of Global Citizen’s 2021 global campaign, a Recovery Plan for the World. The Recovery Plan focuses on five key objectives: ending COVID-19 for all, ending the hunger crisis, resuming learning for all, protecting the planet, and advancing equity for all.

Global Citizen is the world’s largest movement of action takers and impact makers dedicated to ending extreme poverty by 2030. With over 10 million monthly advocates, our voices have the power to drive lasting change around sustainability, equality, and humanity. We post, tweet, message, vote, sign, and call to inspire those who can make things happen to act — government leaders, businesses, philanthropists, artists, and citizens — together improving lives. By downloading our app, Global Citizens learn about the systemic causes of extreme poverty, take action on those issues, and earn rewards with tickets to concerts, events, and experiences all over the world. For more information, visit GlobalCitizen.org.

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