The Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) Dr. Faisal Shuaib on Tuesday during a joint COVID-19 vaccination briefing, alongside the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said the country is not on the red list of nations required to isolate for 14 days on arrival in the United Kingdom (UK).
Recall that the UK government had on October 4 released a list of 50 countries that will not be required to isolate on arrival in the UK, on presentation of their vaccination certificate. However, Nigeria was not listed among these countries.
It explained that even as Nigerians are required to isolate on arrival in the UK, British citizens are also required to isolate for seven days upon arrival in Nigeria.
The Federal Government, however, noted that aside from the fact that no African country was listed, Nigeria’s vaccination certification programme status is yet to be comprehensively reviewed by the UK Government. Also, the vaccines administered in Nigeria are approved by the UK Government.
Shuaib said, “As at yesterday, the 4th of October 2021, Nigeria had vaccinated 4,963,985 eligible persons across the country with first dose of COVID-19 vaccines. This figure represents 4.4 per cent of the targeted 111,776,503 eligible population. About 2,166,186 people have received their second doses of the vaccines. This means that approximately 1.9 per cent of eligible population is now fully vaccinated against COVID-19. It is imperative to reiterate the fact that only those who have taken their second dose are fully protected against the deadly COVID-19.
“I would like to comment on the UK Government’s statement, which was released yesterday. Nigeria’s status has not changed. Nigeria is not among the red listed countries that need to mandatory quarantine for 14 days in a supervised UK facility.
“The statement released by the UK Government is in line with the press statement released last week that Nigerians will continue to isolate upon arrival to the UK. This is similar to our requirement to have travellers from the UK, isolate for seven days upon arrival in Nigeria.
“The Presidential Steering Committee is in the process of reviewing these requirements. We have been in touch with the UK Government. Just like they stated clearly in their communication, the current listing of countries with approved vaccination certification has just started in the UK.
“They are reviewing the country’s programmes in phases. If you go through the list of 50 closely, no African country made the list. The UK Government is yet to comprehensively review Nigeria’s vaccination certification programme. From my communication with the UK Government officials, the vaccines administered in Nigeria are approved by the UK Government. They are also involved with the vaccination programme in Nigeria through the Foreign, Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), and they are optimistic that by the time Nigeria’s COVID-19 vaccination programme certification is assessed, it will be approved.
“There are many countries in the world. So, we like many other countries are in the queue for this assessment. Once it gets to our turn, we are more likely than not to get approved in the coming weeks. Like the UK Government has clearly stated, the process of assessment would occur in phases.”
He added by saying, “I would like to inform you that yesterday evening, we received 501,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX facility from the Government of France. We have also gotten confirmation that we will be receiving 3,577,860 doses of Pfizer vaccines within the next two weeks.
“As part of our transparency process to Nigerians and the media, we would be providing you with figures of the adverse event following immunisation reported. In this phase of the vaccination process, 191 serious and 6,555 non-serious AEFI cases were reported. All cases reported were managed in the health facility and individuals have fully recovered and back to their normal daily living.
“In the coming months, Nigeria will be receiving more doses of COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX facility. We anticipate that the vaccines will be quite large in amount, and therefore will require more efficient and faster ways of utilising them, including expanding access to the vaccines.”