By Lizzy Okoji
Mr Jean-Claude Brou, President of the ECOWAS Commission, has said that the sub-region is working on producing its own COVID-19 vaccines soonest to increase the rate of vaccination of citizens.
Brou made this known on Wednesday in Abuja during the 2021 Second Extraordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament while responding to concerns of Parliamentarians of the State of vaccination.
Brou said that the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) and Health Ministers of Member States were working extensively to ensure that countries in the sub-region did not have to rely on external aid alone for vaccines.
He said that ECOWAS was working with some identified companies in Senegal, Nigeria and Ghana which had means to produce the vaccines with some funding assistance from ECOWAS.
The ECOWAS President said measures were also put in place to ensure the patency of the vaccines to ensure that they were safe.
“It is true that we are largely at low rates of the vaccine and we need to spike this rate. One of the major concerns is the availability of vaccines.
‘It is true that in some countries there has been a lot of challenges with sensitization and we know countries where the programme started very slowly despite availability of vaccines in that country.
“And it was not until after several months that the rate of vaccination increased.
“Ministers of Health of the 15 countries have met more times just to coordinate and take actions to address the various challenges, vaccination, availability and so, there is very close coordination.
“We have identified, Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, we have identified companies that have the means to move to the production of this vaccines.
“So we need the funding and also what it takes to assist them to produce the vaccines.
“There is a meeting slated with the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) and I believe it is in the best position to give details on method being adopted,” BROU said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that earlier, Members of Parliaments expressed worry over the low rate of vaccination in member countries just because of high dependency of Western supplies. (NAN)