Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has called on richer nations of the world to urgently work towards equitable vaccine distribution to end the devastating effects of COVID-19, especially in low-income countries in Africa. Sanwo-Olu made the appeal while addresing a global audience at the Global Citizen Live concert in Lagos on Saturday.
Happening across seven continents, Global Citizen Live is part of a once-in-a-generation day of unity with artistes, celebrities and world leaders coming together to create change and impact climate and poverty. The 24-hr broadcast features performances and speeches from locations around the world, including Lagos, London, Los Angeles, New York City, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Seoul, Sydney, Mumbai and many more.
The Lagos event, which was held in honour of healthcare workers at the frontline of the fight against COVID-19, had top Nigerian artistes like Femi Kuti, Davido, Tiwa Savage, Made Kuti and Seun Kuti dish out some of their popular numbers and new works to an electrified audience. Big Brother Nigeria host, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, and host of The Voice Nigeria, Nancy Isime, anchored the event.
In his address, Sanwo-Olu stressed that the unequal distribution of vaccines, where richer nations have secured more doses than the size of their populations and are now considering and preparing to roll out booster shots, while poorer countries struggle to administer first doses, threaten efforts to end the pandemic for everyone everywhere. “Vaccine equity is the only way for the pandemic to end for all of us and to do this we must ensure that vaccines are available to all, especially poorer countries that have had to struggle with supply,” he said
The Lagos Governor shared vital statistics on vaccine access and uptake in the country and in the state: “Nigeria has only administered about 4,171,989 doses of both AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines. However, of this number, only 1,734,103 (1.7%) of the entire population have received a second dose of the vaccine.”
“In Lagos State, 405,000 persons have received the first dose of Astra Zeneca and of these 289,000 have had their second dose. For Moderna, we have administered the first dose to 230,000 persons. This gives us about a 1.2% herd immunity, which is far below the minimum WHO target of 60% of the population. At the current rate, it would take about three years to achieve our herd immunity target of vaccination at least 60% of our population. We cannot continue at this speed if we seriously want to beat this virus.”
On what Lagos State would do to ensure vaccine equity among its entire population, Sanwo-Olu said: “We plan to partner with the private sector—once again—to procure, store, distribute and administer vaccines across the state under the guidance of Federal and State Government laws. Our proposal is to reserve and administer 50% of the vaccines procured in partnership with the private sector to be made available free of charge at government health centres. With this approach, we expect to vaccinate 30% of the population of Lagos State within one year. This will put us on a better and more sustainable path towards herd immunity.”
In an earlier statement, Global Citizen Co-Founder and CEO, Hugh Evans, had said: “As a global community, we are in a race against time and the key to coming back together is the vaccine. We need to build vaccine confidence in the United States and globally, and encourage people to take the vaccine as quickly as possible. There is a light at the end of this tunnel, but getting vaccines to everyone, everywhere regardless of who they are or where they are from, is key to ensuring the end of this pandemic around the world. We must all unite to get back on track to eradicating extreme poverty.”
Global Citizen Live is part of Global Citizen’s 2021 global campaign, a Recovery Plan for the World. The Recovery Plan focuses on five key objectives: ending COVID-19 for all, ending the hunger crisis, resuming learning for all, protecting the planet, and advancing equity for all. The campaign is supported by a corporate coalition, including Access Bank in Nigeria, alongside global partners Accenture, Cisco, Citi, The Coca-Cola Company, Delta Air Lines, Google, Live Nation, P&G, Salesforce, Verizon, and campaign partners Hilton, WW International, and World Wide Technology who will engage support from the private sector in driving new commitments toward the campaign’s policy objectives.
Global Citizen is the world’s largest movement of action takers and impact makers dedicated to ending extreme poverty by 2030. With over 10 million monthly advocates, our voices have the power to drive lasting change around sustainability, equality, and humanity. We post, tweet, message, vote, sign, and call to inspire those who can make things happen to act — government leaders, businesses, philanthropists, artists, and citizens — together improving lives. By downloading our app, Global Citizens learn about the systemic causes of extreme poverty, take action on those issues, and earn rewards with tickets to concerts, events, and experiences all over the world. For more information, visit GlobalCitizen.org.