The Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament, Rt. Hon. Sidie Mohamed Tunis has tasked Members of Parliament to assist government in the sub-region to dispel the toxic conspiracy theory that limit citizens of the community from accepting the COVID-19 vaccine.
He said that the discovery of the vaccine was a stunning scientific achievement, and a much-needed source of hope.
The Speaker who gave this charge at the official opening of the 2021 First Extraordinary Session of ECOWAS Parliament in Freetown, Sierra Leone, said that the challenge of vaccine hesitancy within the population is in existence due to conspiracy theorists.
“This would require the efforts of everyone, to educate our constituents on the safety and benefits of getting vaccinated once it is available. We must continue this campaign until such a time when we would have attained Herd Immunity,” The Speaker said.
Hon. Tunis recalled that a year ago, the world came to its knees as a result of the emergence of a new virus that sparked a global pandemic.
He said: “Movements were halted, our way of life redefined, economies crumbled, hospitals and health systems got overwhelmed, lives were lost and hearts were filled with uncertainty.
“One year later, we are celebrating the development and approval of safe and effective vaccines after the emergence of a new virus. This is a stunning scientific achievement, and a much-needed source of hope. I join other world leaders to commend the scientists and researchers for such brilliant and robust intervention at a time when the world needed it most. I also commend the Governments and Philanthropic Organizations that invested huge resources towards the development of the new vaccine entities”.
He noted that while the world celebrate the development of vaccines, the parliamentarians are not insensitive to the new level of challenge that comes along, which is the emergence of the disparity between rich countries and poor nations who cannot procure vaccines for themselves.
“Nevertheless, we thank the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Commission and France for bringing together Governments, Global Health Organizations, Manufacturers, Scientists, Private Sector and Civil Society Organizations, as well as Philanthropists, with the aim of providing innovative and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, through the COVAX initiative”. The Speaker said.
Hon. Mohamed Tunis said “This effort has proven to be a truly global solution to this pandemic, as it aims to ensure that people in all corners of the world get access to COVID-19 vaccines once they are available, regardless of their wealth”.
“In our region, a few countries have started vaccinating their citizen, we are hopeful that other countries will join in as soon as possible,” he said.