The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has said that Nigerians travelling to Britain will still be isolated for seven days, as UK Government is yet to comprehensively review Nigeria’s vaccination certification programme.
The Executive Director of NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib disclosed this on Tuesday at a press conference on Progress of COVID-19 vaccination in Nigeria.
Shuaib said communication with the UK Government officials, the vaccines administered in Nigeria are approved by the UK Government.
Shuaib further said UK officials are also involved with the vaccination program in Nigeria through the Foreign, Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) and they are optimistic that by the time Nigeria’s COVID-19 vaccination program certification is assessed, it will be approved.
He said: “Nigeria’s status has not changed. Nigeria is not among the listed countries that need mandatory quarantine for 14 days in a supervised UK facility.
“The statement released by the UK Government is in line with the Press statement released last week that Nigerians will continue to isolate upon arrival to the UK.
“This is similar to our requirement to have travellers from the UK, isolate for seven days upon arrival in Nigeria.
“The Presidential Steering Committee is in the process of reviewing these requirements. We have been in touch with the UK Government.
“Just like they stated clearly in their communication, the current listing of Countries with approved vaccination certification has just started in the UK.
“They are reviewing the Country’s programs in phases. If you go through the list of 50 closely, no African country made the list.
“Once it gets to our turn, we are more likely than not to get approved in the coming weeks. Like the UK Government have clearly stated, the process of assessment would occur in phases.”
Shuaib also pointed out that in recent weeks, the agency have intensified campaigns for the uptake of second dose using multiple media strategies, stakeholders, and community engagement, and these have yielded appreciable results.
He, however, reiterated that more work needs to be collectively done to improve vaccine uptake.
“We will continue to engage with citizens to promote a more rapid uptake of the vaccines much as we will continue to count on your professional support to see that people are adequately protected against COVID-19.
“I would like to inform you that yesterday evening, we received 501,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX facility as donation from the Government of France.
“We have also gotten confirmation that we will be receiving 3,577,860 doses of Pfizer vaccines within the next two weeks.
“As part of our transparency process to Nigerians and the Media, we would be providing you with figures of the adverse event following immunization reported.
“In this phase of the vaccination process, 191 serious and 6,555 non-serious AEFI cases were reported. All cases reported were managed in the health facility and individuals have fully recovered and back to their normal daily living.
“In the coming months, Nigeria will be receiving more doses of COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX facility. We anticipate that the vaccines will be quite large in amount, and therefore will require more efficient and faster ways of utilizing them including expanding access to the vaccines.
“We have therefore started implementing the decentralisation of vaccine utilisation by involving the private sector in the vaccine administration.
“Currently, COVID-19 vaccines are available at Government health facilities only. As we decentralize, private health facilities who meet the set criteria will be allocated COVID-19 vaccines, after due training of their immunization service providers.
“Vaccinations in a private health facility will continue with the help of Government health officials. Subsequently, clients will be able to access COVID-19 vaccines at both government and private health care facilities in the country.
“This will be done at different levels which would include the States and Local Governments. We are taking every caution to ensure that when implemented, the decentralization policy is not corrupted.
“Private health care facilities will be carefully selected based on transparent eligibility criteria, and supervision will be maximized to ensure discipline and compliance with safety measures.
“The goal, as I said is to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines and to ensure rapid and safe vaccine utilization,” Shuaib added.