Federal civil servants and mandatory COVID-19 vaccination — New Telegraph Editorial

Posted by News Express | 29 November 2021 | 709 times

Gmail icon


 

The Federal Government has directed all its employees to go for compulsory coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccinations by Tuesday, November 30, this year. This is to enable them to be armed with the required documentary proof in order to be allowed access into their offices beginning from Wednesday, December 1 this year.

The directive is part of the country’s response to the socioeconomic dislocation caused by COVID-19. We commend the Federal Government for the sustained efforts to mitigate the harsh effects of the disease against her citizens. Some countries of the world have subjected their civil servants or segments of their population to mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations.

New Telegraph acknowledges, with excitement, that with the compulsory vaccination of Federal Civil Servants, a segment of the population, no matter how small, would have been protected against COVID 19.

This, coupled with the continued emphasis on the wearing of face masks, physical distancing, and constant washing of hands, will likely make Nigeria keep a step ahead of the virus.

The undeniable trigger to compulsory COVID 19 vaccination of Federal Civil Servants is the responsibility of the Executive Branch of government to manage public health.

This responsibility encourages the country to utilize the machinery of governance including the use of force to ensure that the COVID-19 is neutralized.

We are happy that the Federal Government is striving hard to live up to its obligation of ensuring that public health is in good stead, even in the face of the shamefully poorly-equipped and lowly-funded health sector.

But how defensible is the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination of all Federal Civil Servants? Nothing challenges the Federal Government directive to its employees to go for compulsory COVID-19 vaccination quite vigorously than the submission of the global health overseer, the World Health Organisation (WHO) that it is far more beneficial for all stakeholders to push for the voluntary rather than the compulsory acceptance of any health intervention.

The New Telegraph cannot agree more with WHO. Fallout of voluntary acceptance of a health intervention like the COVID-19 vaccination is that it would help to reduce the public doubt and suspicion regarding the disease and the efficiency of the vaccination.

Unfortunately the Federal Government has regrettably failed to bring down the level of public doubt and suspicion in respect of COVID-19 and the vaccination. The second fallout is that in the face of a declining level of public doubt and suspicion a marked embrace of the health intervention by more people would be triggered.

A yet another positive consequence is that COVID-19, like other diseases, would be successfully curtailed. We wish to state clearly that health, like education, is on the Concurrent Legislative List.

But sadly the Federal Government glossed over this reality and went on to constitute the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 which later metamorphosed into the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19. The PTF was composed of Federal Government Officials.

The PTF’s successor, the PSC equally comprises Federal Government functionaries as its dramatics personae. Though it could be argued that the dramatic personnel are from the different states of Nigeria, they are not in any way answerable to their state of origin, as they hold their ministerial and other positions at the pleasure of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Technically, the 36 states of Nigeria stand shut out of the activities of the PFN and PSN, but are expected to help implement the decisions which they do not partake in formulating.

It has been difficult as manifested in respect of Kogi State and a few other states when expected to implement the decisions of the PFN and later the PSN. Foresight was deployed seven years ago in the fight against the dreaded Ebola Disease. Rather than elbow out the state governments, the then Federal Government, in acknowledgement of the fact that health was and is still on the Concurrent Legislative List, allowed their functionaries to be locked in the joint responsibility of fighting Ebola.

The then Dr. Goodluck Jonathan Administration did not set up either a PTF or PSC on the Ebola crisis, instead it allowed an age-long highest decision making body on health in the country, the National Council on Health (NCH) to handle the Ebola-related assignment.

Who were and are still the members of the NCH. At any point in time, the NCH is composed of medical and health experts from the Federal Government and the 36 states of the Federation which most include the Minister of Health and the Minister of State for Health of the Federation and the Commissioners of Health of the 36 states of the Federation.

Decisions reached at the NCH meetings regarding the fight against Ebola were quickly implemented by the states in 2014 as their commissioners were part of the decision making process. It is logically defensible to deal with the public doubt and suspicions regarding COVID-19 and the vaccination.

In order to make progress in respect of this, there should be a marked involvement of the states of the federation in the campaign against COVID-19.

The NCH is a statutory body, not a hurriedly contrived team like the PTF or PSC that could help deal with the challenge of public doubt and suspicions.

The officials of the states of the Federation would help persuade and organise the different segments of the population to throw in their hats into the ring in the fight against COVID-19 from observing the non-pharmaceutical protocols to voluntarily going for the compulsory COVID-19 vaccination.

This is far more rewarding than the top-down communication model resulting in the compulsory COVID 19 vaccination of all Federal Civil Servants which will likely deepen the public doubt and suspicion regarding COVID-19 and the vaccination sadly the Federal Government glossed over this reality and went on to constitute the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 which later metamorphosed into the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19.

The PTF was composed of Federal Government Officials. The PTF’s successor, the PSC equally comprises Federal Government functionaries as its dramatics personae.

Though it could be argued that the dramatic personnel are from the different states of Nigeria, they are not in any way answerable to their state of origin, as they hold their ministerial and other positions at the pleasure of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Technically, the 36 states of Nigeria stand shut out of the activities of the PFN and PSN, but are expected to help implement the decisions which they do not partake in formulating.

It has been difficult as manifested in respect of Kogi State and a few other states when expected to implement the decisions of the PFN and later the PSN. Foresight was deployed seven years ago in the fight against the dreaded Ebola Disease.

Rather than elbow out the state governments, the then Federal Government, in acknowledgement of the fact that health was and is still on the Concurrent Legislative List, allowed their functionaries to be locked in the joint responsibility of fighting Ebola.

The then Dr. Goodluck Jonathan Administration did not set up either a PTF or PSC on the Ebola crisis, instead it allowed an age-long highest decision making body on health in the country, the National Council on Health (NCH) to handle the Ebola-related assignment. Who were and are still the members of the NCH.

At any point in time, the NCH is composed of medical and health experts from the Federal Government and the 36 states of the Federation which most include the Minister of Health and the Minister of State for Health of the Federation and the Commissioners of Health of the 36 states of the Federation.

Decisions reached at the NCH meetings regarding the fight against Ebola were quickly implemented by the states in 2014 as their commissioners were part of the decision making process.

It is logically defensible to deal with the public doubt and suspicions regarding COVID-19 and the vaccination. In order to make progress in respect of this, there should be a marked involvement of the states of the federation in the campaign against COVID-19.

The NCH is a statutory body, not a hurriedly contrived team like the PTF or PSC that could help deal with the challenge of public doubt and suspicions.

The officials of the states of the Federation would help persuade and organise the different segments of the population to throw in their hats into the ring in the fight against COVID-19 from observing the non-pharmaceutical protocols to voluntarily going for the compulsory COVID-19 vaccination.

This is far more rewarding than the top-down communication model resulting in the compulsory COVID 19 vaccination of all Federal Civil Servants which will likely deepen the public doubt and suspicion regarding COVID-19 and the vaccination.


Source: News Express

Readers Comments

0 comment(s)

No comments yet. Be the first to post comment.


You may also like...