The Federal Government has released N3.5 billion to facilitate the vaccination of Nigerians against sundry communicable diseases nationwide.
The decision, it was learnt, may not be unconnected with the recent concerns over the outbreak of the Monkeypox virus in Bayelsa State. The disease is said to have spread to 11 other states.
The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the Vice President, Laolu Akande, in company of the governors of Abia and Kebbi states, made the announcement yesterday at the end of the NEC meeting presided over by Prof. Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Briefing State House Correspondents Governor Okezie Ikpeazu Of Abia said the gathering was also briefed by the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa'ad Abubakar III who has been acting as the face of polio to boost the campaign in the North.
Meanwhile, the Paediatric Association of Nigeria (PAN) says the raging vaccine crisis was capable of reversing the gains of child survival strategies recorded over the decades. It expressed sadness at the false reports making the rounds that children were being injected with the virus, saying such amounts to a disservice to the Nigerian child, as provided in the National Programme on Immunisation (NPI).
The association's National President, Dr. Ngozi Ibeziako, while urging parents to allow their children undergo immunisation, stressed that vaccines were safe, cost-effective and life-saving.
Ibeziako stated that the association agreed with the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole and the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) that immunisation was good for children.
However, the Bayelsa State government has urged the citizens to be vigilant as its health teams continue with their surveillance to check the spread of the disease.
The Commissioner for Health, Prof. Ebitimitula Etebu, gave the advice while giving an update on the virus in Yenagoa. According to him, the outbreak had been contained in the state.
Besides, a civil society group, New Initiative for Credible Leadership (NICreL), yesterday, blamed those it described as enemies of the people for the vaccination crisis.
In a statement in Abuja by its Executive Secretary, Rev. Steven Onwu, NICreL said the speculation had brought untold distress to children and their parents.
The group, therefore, called on the military to probe the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice.
He said the action was a "pure act of terror against the populace, which should be condemned in its entirety."
Also yesterday, the Nasarawa State government said a suspected case of the disease was being investigated.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Daniel Iya, told a press conference in Lafia that there was no confirmed incidence in the state.
Represented by the Director of Public Health, Dr. Ibrahim Adamu, the commissioner said the blood sample of the suspect had been taken for analysis.
Also, the Delta State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Nicholas Azinge, has confirmed symptoms of the virus in one of the five reported cases.
He told newsmen yesterday in Asaba that two cases had been thoroughly handled.
Azinge said the victim had been quarantined while tracking of close contacts was ongoing.