By Uche Amunike
The Buhari-led government of Nigeria has said that it is needless to make the COVID-19 vaccination mandatory in the country, but averred that there are plans on ground to make it a compulsory exercise for all public servants.
The Chairman, Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha made this disclosure during a national briefing of the committee in Abuja.
Speaking during the briefing, Mustapha, who doubles as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation explained that the decision was taken in order to see that Nigerians are safe both in the workplace and at home.
He maintained that measures were being taken and efforts were being made to see that the policy on mandatory vaccines is implemented for federal public servants in the country.
He promised that there will be enough vaccines to go round, while assuring that by the second quarter of 2022, Nigeria would have recorded receiving at least 52 million doses of vaccines.
He spoke on the need for Nigerians to move about with their vaccination card details or barcodes on their phones or other electronic devices always, especially those traveling outside the country.
He added that the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Aviation will continue to dialogue with the representatives of the United Arab Emirates, UAE, to sort out the issues of Emirates flights no longer plying between Nigeria and the UAE, making it clear that the safety of Nigerians and their interest is a cause for concern and focus to the Federal government.
He further stated that complying with laid down quarantine protocols put in place to ensure control was worrisome to the PSC and that it was important to review the protocol in order to ensure that it aligned with existing global realities and protocols.
He therefore stated that the PSC will introduce a sustainable policy in the nearest future, insisting that for starters, India has been taken off the list of flagged countries in view of the improved situation in their country.
On his part, the Executive Director of a National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib noted that a total of 4,052,756 eligible persons have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
He explained that a total of 2,654,020 people took the first dose of AstraZeneca Vaccine, while 1,407,736 eligible people took their first dose of Moderna Vaccine.
He added that a total of 1,692,315 eligible people were fully vaccinated and that Nigeria currently had the national average of 70.4%and utilization of the 2,000,040 doses of Moderna Vaccine but warned that anybody caught selling fake vaccination cards will be made to face the consequences.
The Minister of Health on his part, ascribed that the country has recorded a total of 199,151 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 365 in the past 24 hours from 2,941,438 samples already tested so far.
He affirmed that the country has altogether lost 2,598 people. They include 8 in the past 24 hours, a case of fatality rate of 1.3%, a slight rise over the 1.2% of a few weeks prior.