Thursday, April 15, 2021
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FG threatens to deny Lagos State COVID-19 vaccines

Lagos State government has been accused by The National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, for deviating from the action plan being incorporated into the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

This was contained in a statement issued by Dr Faisal Shuaib, the NPHCDA director, on Wednesday, March 24, who also explained that the state has created its own platform through which it is inviting people, thereby vaccinating those not yet qualified based on the phased inoculation arrangement.

As a result of this, Dr Shuaib has threatened that Lagos may be denied covid-19 vaccine supply when the next batch is received.

Speaking on an NTA programme, Dr. Shuaib said: “If it turns out after our investigation that Lagos State has a different platform and they are using it for this process, then they stand the risk of actually being barred from getting further vaccines.

“These vaccines are being provided by COVAX, and have been donated by different organisations and they are very clear about accountability for the vaccines. If Lagos State is using a different platform, then we cannot account for those vaccines the way they are supposed to be accounted for.

“And if we cannot account for the vaccines, the donors will be very clear that we cannot send vaccines to those states.

“No state will also be allowed to procure vaccines on their own. This is a policy of the Federal Government. I hope that it is not correct that they have a different website because that will be wrong on the part of the commissioner of health. And that means that he has not been communicating honestly with the Federal Government.

“But I know him to be a man of good standing in terms of his interactions. We will have to investigate, but it will be a very bad development if they developed a different platform.

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“The platform that NPHCDA and our development partners have developed is a platform that is working very well. There are times when it will have issues but that happens with every situation where there are internet challenges and where a lot of people are trying to access a platform. This platform has been optimised.

However, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi responded that “Lagos has been using the NPHCDA platform”, but explained that “the platform has on numerous occasion failed to pre-register residents and schedule citizens in an orderly manner.”

He added that the state had continued to engage the IT staff of the Federal Government agency “to resolve these issues.”

Abayomi also said the state has been working with officials of the agency to make the exercise stress-free for Lagosians at the registration and vaccination centres.

A report states that the Federal Government has taken delivery of 300,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines out of a total of 1.4 million doses designated for Nigeria by the African Union (AU).

The jabs are of AstraZeneca from the COVAX facility and that of AU COVID-19 vaccination programme, which the MTN Group contributed $25 million.

The vaccines are to be distributed among health workers in the country by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHDA).

The agency’s Director-General, Dr Faisal Shuaib, confirmed the receipt.

The telecommunications company, in a statement yesterday, quoted the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, as expressing appreciation on behalf of the government.

Expanding on the power of partnership and collaboration, Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, Karl Toriola, said: “I thank the Nigerian government and the African Union for the opportunity they granted MTN to collaborate and contribute towards the delivery of these vaccines.

“The ongoing threat of COVID-19 requires a vast and accelerated effort by both the private and public sectors.”

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