While adding that possession of vaccination cards without receiving the vaccines is criminal and punishable by law.
The Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib raised the alarm on Tuesday at the weekly media briefing on COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout in Abuja.
He said that, NPHCDA and the Presidential Steering Committee strongly condemns these fraudulent attempts and urged those attempting such acts to desist henceforth.
According to him, “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.
“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.
“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. Our colleague from the FCT team, the Executive Secretary of the Primary Healthcare Development Board is here to provide detailed update on the case of criminal attempt to illegally procure vaccination card that is being investigated.”
“The individual in this case is not a staff of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency but a staff of the FCT State Primary Healthcare Development Board. The NPHCDA enjoins the general public 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 explained.
Meanwhile, the Country Representative World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo said, it is important to remember that the variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus present in Nigeria are dangerous, and the tools we have to protect ourselves continue to be effective against them.
He urged all countries to recall and respect the principles of the International Health Regulations (IHR) that vaccines must be approved by WHO and be of suitable quality and universally available before they can be considered as a prerequisite for travel.
Saying, If someone is fully vaccinated with any of the vaccines with WHO Emergency Use Listing, they should be treated in the same way, regardless of which vaccine they received. WHO recommends that the same rules should apply for all individuals who have had an EUL vaccine, with no difference in restrictions depending on the product.
According to him; “The Emergency Committee of WHO under the International Health Regulations has been clear that WHO should not be recommending a requirement for vaccination as a condition of travel and particularly related to the scarcity of vaccines and the fact there’s such an inequity in distribution and uncertainties regarding the extent to which vaccination prevents infection or transmission of the disease”.
The issue of international travel is both a certification and a policy issue. WHO is working with countries who have requested that the international yellow fever, or international yellow card be potentially used as a way to register vaccination and we are supporting countries in that.”
The difficulty in this regard is that right now any imposition of such a requirement for vaccination around the world does in effect deliver a double inequality, as individuals from country who have no access to vaccine will then have no access to travel and therefore it is very important that if we’re going to impose restrictions on the travel of individuals, we must at least attempt to do that from a level playing field of having access to vaccine.”