The Federal Government has tagged the use of covid-19 vaccination cards by unvaccinated individuals as criminal offense punishable by the law.
Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib disclosed this at the Agency’s weekly media briefing on Covid-19 vaccination rollout, held on Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Abuja.
TheFact Nigeria gathered that individuals resorted to use of fake vaccination cards due to the increased call for use of vaccination proof before assessing certain services.
Dr. Faisal hinted that it had come to the notice of the NPHCDA and the Federal Ministry of Health, that attempts were being made by unscrupulous persons to procure the COVID-19 vaccination cards, without receiving the vaccines, this he said was a criminal offense and punishable by law:
“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”, he said.
The NPHCDA boss enjoined the 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 warned that if one chose to remain unvaccinated, when such person gets exposed to the virus, he/she will not have any circulating antibodies waiting to help neutralize the virus upon exposure.
To the people who claimed their immune system could wade off the virus, he explained:
“A lot of unvaccinated middle-aged people say that they trust that their immune system would know what to do when they get exposed to the virus, what they need to understand is that their immune system is not only going to be battling with this virus, but there are also several other infectious diseases that our immune system battles with every day.
” So, getting vaccinated is a proactive way to give your immune system a head start in this battle against COVID-19.
“We do not want a situation in which our immune system gets overburdened and is not able to produce enough B and T cells in time to kill the virus,” said Dr. Faisal.
The Acting Executive Secretary of the Primary Healthcare Development Board, Dr Iwot Ndaeyo, said that the compromised team which had been selling covid-19 vaccination cards in exchange for vaccination had been identified and the culprit apprehended, he assured that they will not go unpunished as the board had ‘zero tolerance for corruption’.
WHO Country Representative, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo said the organisation did not recommend that countries make proof of vaccination as requirement for entry or exit from a country because the vaccines are in short supply, however, each country can set quarantine periods.
Representative of the UNICEF, Dr. Gupta Gagan revealed that 700,000 Nigerians who were due for second doses of the covid-19 vaccination had not received it and enjoined them to do so in order to get full protection from the virus.
He was optimistic that the country would be able to administer 4 to 5million doses of the vaccine per month.
As at September 20, 2021, a total of 4,487,367 eligible persons had received their 1st dose of Covid-19 vaccine while 1,783,676 eligible persons had been fully vaccinated with both 1st and 2nd doses respectively.