By Kemi Yesufu
Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament, Hon. Sidie Mohamed Tunis has called on people of the region to embrace the Covid-19 vaccine, saying the vaccine will save lives across the sub-region.
He therefore called on members of the ECOWAS parliament to join their governments to sensitise their citizens of the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.
Speaking at the official opening of the 2021 First Extraordinary Session of ECOWAS Parliament in Freetown , Sierra Leone, he stressed the importance of getting majority of people vaccinated by dispelling unfounded rumors around the vaccine.
He said: “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.
“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 added.
On his part, President of Sierra Leone, Dr. Julius Madda Bio, who declared the First Extraordinary Session open, said that West Africa must upgrade its healthcare and disaster management structures to better manage major challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to him proactive leadership and cooperation across states of the sub-regional body has see cases and fatality ratios kept at low levels .
He said: “Our resilient and indomitable spirit has served us well in our sub-region’s fight against COVID-19.
“Some of our countries have eased restrictions on the movement of people within and across borders. We are now transitioning to a new phase in which we heighten prevention and protection protocols while we roll out vaccines.
“Our countries have received some vaccines, thanks to the support of our various partners and international bodies.
“I urge this august assembly to add its strong collective voice to appeals for redressing vaccine disparity and to fully support efforts to procure, supply, and administer safe and efficacious vaccines throughout our sub-region”.
“As nations in our community recover from the impact of COVID-19, I urge this body to support and cooperate on imbuing resilience and sustainability into our recovery and rebuilding efforts.
“We must rebuild our economies mindful that there may be new possibilities, but equally so, lurking uncertainties with which we must contend. We must identify growth sectors and new opportunities in our post-COVID economies and leverage investments in areas that propel sustainable economic growth and inclusive development”, he father said.