- ECOSOC, a principal organ of the UN, is leading efforts to drive policies that can ensure rapid recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic
- ECOSOC's president, Ambassador Akram at a press briefing on Friday listed the important steps to take to recover from the virus which includes vaccine equity
- Akram said countries like Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya can produce the vaccine if given the right support, thereby expanding access to the vaccine in Africa
Ambassador Munir Akram, the president of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has said Nigeria has the capacity to produce COVID-19 vaccine if the manufacturers share the relevant technology with the country.
Ambassador Akram made this known during a virtual press briefing attended by Legit.ng which was aimed at highlighting the priority actions the world needs to take to recover from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic as quickly as possible.
Legit.ng learns that the press briefing tagged “Face to Face” is a curtain-raiser for the 2021 ECOSOC Financing for Development Forum (12-15 April).
The event will drive high-level political engagement to advance priority actions to set the world on track for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Highlighting some of the key steps needed to be taken to recover from the virus, Ambassador Akram said vaccine production and equitable distribution is critical.
The diplomat noted that the global community must avoid vaccine nationalism both in terms of production and distribution.
According to him, vaccine inequality will slow down the recovery process from the pandemic which has brought the world to its knees.
How Nigeria, other African countries can produce COVID-19 vaccine
Asked if the United Nations has any programme to address the absence of vaccine production in Africa, Akram said the majority of the African countries do not currently have the capacity to produce the vaccine.
However, he said countries like Nigeria, South African and Kenya can produce the COVID-19 vaccine if they get the relevant technological support.
"I believe Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa can produce the vaccine if the technology is shared with them.
"These countries can quickly redirect some of their pharmaceutical facilities to quickly produce the vaccines for the African continent."
Achieving vaccine equity
To ensure the entire world has the access to the vaccine and facilitate quick recovery from the pandemic, Akram said it is important to ramp up productions and distributions.
To achieve this, the ECOSOC president listed two key steps to take:
1. Waiver or suspension of intellectual property rights so that others can produce the vaccine
2. Transfer of the relevant production technology to others, especially the developing countries
The diplomat said this can be achieved by exerting the right political pressure at the level of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the international organization dealing with the global rules of trade headed by Nigeria's Okonjo Iweala.
In another report, the senior pastor of Trinity House, Ituah Ighodalo, has sent a message to some Nigerian Christian clerics who have refused to take the COVID-19 vaccine and are preaching to their congregations to follow suit.
Ighodalo admonished that what such religious leaders should understand is that God has provided a solution and remedy for the deadly pandemic, which is the vaccine.
The pastor, therefore, noted that it will be foolishness on the part of anyone who preaches that taking the jab is an act of unbelief in the supreme and miraculous power of the Almighty.