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COVID-19: Hard times await those in possession of fake vaccination cards – Dr Shuaib

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The National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA has vowed to punish individuals in possession of fake COVID-19 vaccination cards.

COVID-19 vaccination cards are given to eligible individuals who have rightly taken the first or both doses of the vaccine.

Speaking at the weekly press briefing on the COVID-19 vaccination rollout in Abuja, the Executive Director NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib said it is a criminal offence to be in possession of vaccination card without receiving the vaccine.

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He warned that whoever is caught issuing or buying COVID-19 vaccination card without taking the vaccine would be severely dealt with.

In his words, “With the increase in COVID-19 vaccination mandates globally, it has come to the notice of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and the Federal Ministry of Health, that attempts are being made by unscrupulous persons to procure the COVID-19 vaccination cards, without receiving the COVID-19 vaccines. adsbygoogle || []).push({});

“NPHCDA and the Presidential Steering Committee strongly condemns these fraudulent attempts and is urging those attempting such acts to desist henceforth.

“The ongoing COVID-19 vaccination and the vaccination cards are totally free of charge at all designated COVID-19 vaccination sites across the 36 states of the Federation and the FCT.

“Possession of vaccination cards without receiving the vaccines is criminal and punishable by law. The NPHCDA is collaborating with the State Security Services (SSS), ICPC and other law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute any persons and their accomplices attempting to fraudulently acquire COVID-19 vaccination cards without getting vaccinated”.

Dr Shuaib however urged Nigerians to immediately report any suspected cases of buying and selling of COVID-19 vaccination cards without receiving the vaccines to the nearest law enforcement agency or to NPHCDA through the following channels:
COVID-19 hotline: 07002201122
NPHCDA website: www.nphcda.gov.ng/complaints.

He also spoke on the new travel advisory from the UK government.

“As you may be aware, the UK Government released a new travel advisory which would take effect from Monday October 4th, 2021. There have been concerns by Nigerians on how this would affect us.

“We would like to clarify that the guidance provided by the UK Government is that they would want to simplify the classification of countries from green, amber and red to just red and green list. Therefore, countries that are currently on the amber list may fall into either of these two categories.

“We have had preliminary discussions with officials of the UK Government. Without prejudice to the information yet to be released, we have been assured that Nigeria will maintain the status quo. That is to say Nigeria will not be on the red list.

“The UK Government have also stated that they have no issues with the vaccines used in Nigeria. The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, also known as COVISHIELD that is used in Nigeria was approved by the UK regulatory body (MHRA), other stringent regulatory authorities and the World Health Organization.So, the UK Government does recognize the vaccines used in Nigeria.

“The UK is doing a phased approach to deal with the high demand and volume of people arriving their Country. It is important to stress that this phased approach is still under review by their Government and they would be providing updates regularly.

“For Nigeria at the moment, there is no change in the guidelines for entry of Nigerians into the UK. A UK citizen on entry into Nigeria regardless of the vaccination status, is made to do a PCR test and isolated for 7 days and same applies for Nigerians entering the UK, you are also required to do PCR test and isolate for a few days. This is called the principle of reciprocity in the diplomatic circles. From our usual updates to the Press and Nigerians, Citizens are aware that the vaccines used in Nigeria are donations from the UK Government, the Canadian Government and the United States through the COVAX facility.

“We would also like Nigerians to note, that the number of people immunized is one of the factors that most countries assess when making travel restrictions.

“This is why we would continue to encourage all eligible Nigerians to visit the nearest designated health facility to get vaccinated. We are beginning to see not just the UK Government but other developed Countries also instituting more stringent COVID-19 guidelines for travel and public spaces. As the pandemic evolves, we may get to a point where Countries would not allow the entry of unvaccinated individuals” he explained.

Meanwhile, NPHCDA noted that a total of 4,487,367 eligible individuals have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. This is made up of 2,863,422 persons who have taken the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine and 1,623,945 persons who have taken the first dose of Moderna vaccine.

“So far, 1,783,676 eligible persons have been fully vaccinated, of which 1,781,840 is with the AstraZeneca vaccine, while 1,836 persons have had the Moderna vaccine.

” I want to seize the opportunity to reiterate that the NPHCDA is still closely working with NAFDAC to monitor and handle any Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI).

“In this second phase of the vaccination rollout, we have had 4,349 reports on non-serious AEFI cases and 40 reports of serious AEFI cases with the Moderna vaccines while for AstraZeneca we have had 1,115 non-serious AEFI cases and 38 serious AEFI cases.

“These cases have been successfully treated and the affected persons are doing well and going about their normal duties. I would like to encourage Nigerians to download the Med-Safety App from Android or IOS stores for reporting AEFI cases or report directly to the nearest government health facility whenever the unlikely events occur” Faisal noted.

Dr Faisal reiterated that the fight against cholera is still on, stressing that Nigeria has gotten the International Coordinating Group (ICG) approval for 3,566,628 doses of the oral Cholera vaccines.

He said based on the shortage of the vaccine globally, the country have strategically mapped out and identified areas for the deployment in three states with the highest number of cases as a reactive campaign.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative, Dr Walter Molombo emphasised the need for eligible individuals to be vaccinated.

On travels, he said no region or country should be discriminated against for not receiving the vaccination adding that the issue of international travel is that of policy and diplomacy.

He said WHO is working towards addressing these issue.

The Acting Executive Secretary of the Primary Health Care Development Board, Dr Iwot Ndaeyo said the Federal Capital Territory Administration will work with the NPHCDA to address the issue of buying fake COVID-19 vaccination cards.

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