Say vaccine passports not required; Nigeria vaccinates 1.1m persons with 1st doseBy Sola Ogundipe, Chioma Obinna & Gabriel Olawale

Nigerians and the world at large have been urged to stop discrimination against survivors and those afflicted with coronavirus, even as the demand for vaccine passports that is being agitated by some European countries has been described as unnecessary.

This is coming as the World Health Organisation, WHO, has kicked against the demand for vaccine passports or certificates as being agitated by some European countries before entry by travellers from abroad.

In the views of UNICEF Communication for Development Specialist, Elizabeth Onitolo who canvassed against the spreading fake information and rumours about the COVID-19 vaccine, the time has come for Nigerians to embrace COVID-19 vaccination.

Speaking at a media dialogue in Yola, Adamawa state, she said:  ”We want all Nigerians to see the coronavirus as one of the diseases ravaging the world, and stop discriminating against people with the virus. There is a need for Nigerians to take necessary precautions so as not to contact the coronavirus.”

Onitolo said UNICEF Nigeria, conducted a risk assessment rumour in some states and found out that some information was preventing people from accessing COVID-19 vaccines.

“It is essential for media practitioners to always create awareness that will dispel all the rumours that are spread by people all over the country. Nigerians need to be proactive and ensure that everyone has the right information to prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus”.

Also speaking, the WHO Adamawa state Coordinator, Friday Igbinovia, called on all Nigerians to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, by adhering to guidelines stipulated by regulatory health agencies.

“It is essential for all the citizens to obtain the first and second dose of the virus. It is also important to practice social distancing and wear a face mask at all times. The government is doing its best to ensure the vaccine is available to everyone,” he urged.

Igbinovia noted that the availability of the vaccines is likely to reduce the severity of the disease and other complications which may lead to death.

Also speaking, the incident Manager, Stephen John, advised Nigerians to quit discriminating against people down with the virus as the issue of stigma has made a large number of people uncomfortable.

John said it has also had a negative effect on the health sector and that the right perception and belief about the vaccine was needed.

“The coronavirus usually comes with a different variant, and all hands should be on deck to put an end to the emergence of new variants of the virus.  A high proportion of cases are asymptomatic.  The low index of suspicion makes detection difficult and leads to delay in presentation and increased transmission”.

Vaccine passports not necessary — WHO

The World Health Organisation, WHO, has kicked against agitation for vaccine passports or certificates by some European countries.

Vaccine passports or vaccine certificates, are documents that show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative test for the virus.

According to the WHO’s Emergency Committee new report on health measures in relation to international traffic,  individuals do not require proof of vaccination as a condition of entry, given the limited (although growing) evidence about the performance of vaccines in reducing transmission and the persistent inequity in the global vaccine distribution.

The report states that parties are strongly encouraged to acknowledge the potential for requirements of proof of vaccination to deepen inequities and promote differential freedom of movement.

However, the WHO recommended that the need to prioritise vaccination for seafarers and aircrews in line with the Joint statement on prioritisation of COVID-19 vaccination for seafarers and aircrew.

“Special attention should be paid to seafarers who are stranded at sea and who are stopped from crossing international borders for crew change due to travel restrictions, including requirements for proof of COVID-19 vaccination, to ensure that their human rights are respected.”

They further called for the implementation coordinated, time-limited, risk-based, and evidence-based approaches for health measures in relation to international traffic in line with WHO guidance and IHR provisions.

“If States Parties implement quarantine measures for international travellers on arrival at their destination, these measures should be based on risk assessments and consider local circumstances.”

They also stressed the need to reduce the financial burden on international travellers for the measures applied to them for the protection of public health (e.g. testing, isolation/quarantine, and vaccination), in accordance with Article 40 of the IHR.

The report recommended the need to share information with WHO on the effects of health measures in minimising transmission of the virus during international travel to inform WHO’s development of evidence-based guidance.

Nigeria vaccinates 1.1m persons with 1st dose

An update released by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, on Monday showed that a total of 1,101,827 eligible Nigerians have so far been vaccinated with the first dose, representing 54.8 per cent of the proportion vaccinated.

A breakdown of the NPHCDA update contained in an Electronic Management of Immunisation Data System, further revealed that Lagos is leading in the exercise with 204,835 persons vaccinated.

Three other states trailing Lagos are Kano 58,494; Kaduna, 56,782 and Ogun, 53,273.

Other states with 5-digit figures are FCT, 49,299; Katsina, 39,462; Oyo, 38,173; Bauchi, 36,221; Ondo, 31,486.

Kwara, 31,208; Edo, 29,269; Rivers, 29060; Plateau, 28, 589; Jigawa, 28298; Gombe, 27, 291; Niger, 27,286; Ekiti, 22, 983; Benue, 22,406; Borno, 21,792; Delta, 21,475; Osun, 21,267; Yobe, 21,072; Adamawa, 20,252; Imo, 19,493; Nasarawa, 17,683; Kebbi, 15,963; Zamfara, 15,929; Cross River, 15,293; Enugu, 12316; Sokoto, 11,855; Anambra, 11,111; Kogi, 11,016; Bayelsa, 10,666; Taraba, 8,965; Ebonyi, 8,946; Abia 9,736.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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