The Federal Government has explained that taking COVID-19 vaccine is a choice following criticisms that erupted after media reports on Wednesday, October 13 that effective December 1 2021, federal civil servants would be expected to present their vaccine cards or risk not being allowed into their work places.
The Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, has now clarified that it is not compulsory for federal civil servants to take the vaccine, but that they must show negative COVID-19 PCR test.
“The Presidential Steering Committee (PSC), on Wednesday, announced interventions to, not only protect the most vulnerable people in our society, but to also ensure that the work place is safe for all citizens. Clearly, there is loss of productivity and its impact on socio-economic development when workers are unable to come to work on a regular, and consistent basis due to outbreaks of an infectious disease such as COVID-19.
“Following advice by public health experts, the PSC announced that all Federal Government employees should make a choice as to how they can contribute towards making the work environment COVID-19-free. The logical choice is between taking the vaccine and showing the evidence or presenting proof that one is COVID-19-free by showing a negative PCR test taken 72 hours prior. This provision is applicable to all Federal Government institutions. The decision to release the advisory was not taken lightly. It is part of the PSC and Federal Ministry of Health’s mantra to always use scientific evidence to make decisions for the benefit of all Nigerians.”
He also confirmed that there’s enough vaccines to cover more than the population of Federal Government employees.
“Based on delivery forecasts from the COVAX facility and African Union, Nigeria will have adequate vaccines to cover more that 50 per cent of eligible populations by the end of the first quarter of 2022. In order words, please do not worry about the availability of vaccines because we have the supply chain figured out already,” he said.
“The objective is to vaccinate a high volume of individuals through large sites such as federal institutions, shopping malls, religious centres, sporting events, conference centres, and markets etc. This will require strong collaboration between NPHCDA, state governments, religious bodies, school authorities and governing bodies of malls and large sporting events.
“As we expand the vaccination sites, we encourage all eligible Nigerians to avail themselves for vaccination. We have commenced the process of decentralising COVID-19 vaccination in Nigeria, to include private health care providers. This is to expand access and increase utilisation of the vaccines which will not affect free vaccination policy.