By Ignatius Okorocha
Contrary to insinuation in some quarters that there is a compulsory vaccination of Nigerians contained in the National Health Emergency Bill,2020,Chairman, Senate Committee on Primary Health Care and Communicable Disease, Sen. Chukwuka Utazi (PDP Enugu) has debunked as false such speculation.
Utazi made the disclosure in an interview with journalists shortly after the bill passed first reading at plenary on Tuesday.
“The bill does not make for compulsory vaccination .
“I don’t know anything about controversy about a bill in the Senate that was sponsored by the entire 102 senators.
“The bill we brought here is to address the issue we have on ground now Such as international scourge that is posing public health emergency around the world
“And in Nigeria here we are trying to make effort to ensure that there is a law that is going to guide how we handle this issue.”
He said the bill which was being sponsored by 102 senators was designed to address the weaknesses of the Quarantine Act especially on management of a pandemic such as COVID-19 in Nigeria.
“The bill we have here is to amend the quarantine act and to take care of all the issues we are having on management of a pandemic such as COVID-19 .
“We want to make sure that we have a law that can handle the issues.
“Instead of having several executive orders and regulations upon regulations, so we want to put every thing under a law that we can now now address the issue.
“The law i have here will help address the health issues connected with COVID-19 and beyond”.
He said what was in the quarantine act do not cover all the protocols in management of COVID-19,adding that the bill would address the issues not covered in the quarantine act.
The senator noted that had being working on the bill in the past two months noting that the inputs of relevant agencies of government had been sought on the bill.
Recall that the House Representatives had recently introduced the Infectious Disease Bill.
The bill which had passed second reading was stood down owing to divergent views by Nigerians on the intent and purpose of the bill.
The bill, which seeks to repeal the quarantine act, seeks to empower the President, Minister of Health and Director General of Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) to make for quarantining, vaccination and prevention.