The federal government says it would soon unveil its decision on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for every employee in its service.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, stated this Thursday in Abuja during the meeting of the Health Commissioners Forum with Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and health partners.
He said the federal government would make vaccination compulsory for federal civil servants once vaccines are available for everyone.
He said, “You should, in the course of this meeting, deliberate on the challenges caused by vaccine hesitancy all over the country. It is expected that you will come with policy alternatives as solutions.
“Let me state, however, that federal government shall, very shortly unveil its decision on mandatory vaccination for every employee in its service.”
He said the country did not have sufficient vaccines at the moment and so will not institute mandatory COVID-19 vaccination immediately.
Mustapha said the mandatory vaccination for federal civil servants has become imperative due to the role they perform not just within the country but also on behalf of the federal government with other countries, some of which have started insisting on compulsory COVID-19 vaccination.
He said that the acquisition of sufficient doses that would enable the country to vaccinate 70% of the population is in progress.
He said over 4.6 million Nigerians have been vaccinated fully or have received the first dose.
The SGF also called on the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to call off its strike, saying any form of strike is unnecessary in the midst of a pandemic.
Funding challenges in the health sector
Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora said the federal government was working towards increasing domestic resources for the health sector by pooling ‘sin’ taxes on tobacco and other products.
He said doing so was important because funding has been the major challenge of the health sector.
“We need to begin to tax commodities like alcohol, and cigarettes, among others which causes a lot of damage to the human body.
” That is why we are saying that if people take these things, let us find a way to put some tax on it so that we can get some money to fund the health sector in addition to existing funding structures,” Mamora said.
The Chairman of the Health Commissioners Forum, Dr Betta Edu said the Commissioners met to brainstorm on ways partnerships and policies could be harnessed for a resilient health sector and advancement of Universal Health Coverage.