The Federal Government has raised the alarm over reported racketeering of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines in some of the designated vaccination centres.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Mr. Abdullazzi Abdullahi, spoke at the joint national briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja on Monday.
According to Abdullahi, the racketeering is not necessary, as vaccination has been scheduled in phases such that frontline health workers and those at higher risks of the COVID-19 infection are to be vaccinated first, after registration at the portal.
“We have received reports of racketeering in some of the designated vaccination centres. This is not necessary. Vaccination has been scheduled in phases, such that frontline health workers and those at higher risk of the infection are vaccinated first after registration at the portal.
“Everyone will be vaccinated free and everyone will eventually be vaccinated. There is no need to pay to be vaccinated,” he said.
The permanent secretary also said that government met with the AstraZeneca group at the ministry and the meeting provided an opportunity for one-on-one clarification on the vaccines.
He said, “The outcome of the meeting was a reassurance of the safety and efficacy of the vaccine against COVID-19.
“We have not yet recorded unusual side effects among those who have received the vaccine which include myself.
“NAFDAC is monitoring the process as part of a global tracking of adverse effects of the vaccine.
“Anyone who has received the vaccine and is experiencing any adverse reaction, should please report to NAFDAC using the Med Safety App on your phone or report at the centre where you received the vaccination.”
While acknowledging that there had been a reduction in the daily number of confirmed cases even with sustained testing rate , he said that the total number of confirmed cases in Nigeria as of Monday morning was 161,737 from 1,727,467 samples tested with a test positivity rate of 9.4 per cent.
He, however, said that Nigeria had recorded 2,030 deaths.
“In the last week, we have recorded a total of 1080 cases.
“This is less than what was recorded daily during the second wave even with sustained testing.
“While this is good, we shall not on account of this rest on our oars for it is still too early to do so.
“We shall continue to sustain our testing rate to ensure that we identify, isolate and treat positive cases in the country.
“This is necessary to avoid a third wave which some countries are presently experiencing,” he said.
“In addition to this, we are sustaining distribution of available commodities, PPEs and consumables to ensure availability at all times for end users at treatment centres.
“Evidence has shown improvement in management of cases as many gaps identified during the supervisory visits are being addressed.
“Some centres are operating in new and purpose-built isolation wards, while there’s an ongoing remodelling of some centres, improved workflow, better IPC practice and availability of better equipment such as Oxygen Concentrators, ventilators among others,” he said.