Ahead of the December 1 vaccination deadline for civil servants, LEADERSHIP investigations show there is no memo compelling workers to get vaccinated against coronavirus.
At the ministry of aviation, the civil servants there said vaccine should be voluntary and not mandatory.
One of the civil servants simply identified as Mallam said, “Vaccine is a thing of choice. If you believe in it, you get the vaccine; if you don’t, you forget about it and follow the non-pharmaceutical instructions which include the wearing of face masks and also using hand sanitizer.”
He also stated that there was no memo to officially inform the workers that there will be vaccine mandate from December 1, 2021.
The ministry of transportation is also not different as some of the workers there were not even aware of the deadline.
According to the civil servants there, there is no discussion about a deadline at the ministry at the moment as no one has informed them about it.
They also argued that such directive is to come from the civil service through memo and such memo will be circulated to the staff through the notice board.
LEADERSHIP recalls that on October 13, 2021, the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID 19, said civil servants would be required to present proof of vaccination or negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests conducted within 72 hours to enable access to offices from December 1, 2021.
The PSC also added that the idea is to encourage staff to take the vaccines which would help Nigeria to achieve herd immunity.
The PSC chairman, Boss Mustapha, had said: “With effect from December 1, 2021, federal government employees shall be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result done within 72 hours, to gain access to their offices, in all locations within Nigeria and our Missions. An appropriate service wide advisory/circular will be issued to guide the process.”
In some of the educational institutions visited, findings by LEADERSHIP showed that the federal government’s plan to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for public servants from December 1, 2021 may have caught some unawares.
Speaking on the efforts to ensure workers get vaccinated at the University of Abuja, Dr Habib Yakoob, the head, information and university relations of the institution, said the management will ensure that staff get vaccinated, adding that the staff members were willing to comply with the order.
However, he said, “A testing centre is located at the university’s teaching hospital located in Gwagwalada and the management is working out modalities to ensure that every staff member got vaccinated.”
Meanwhile, it was observed that access to vaccination points at the Federal Ministry of Education and others is a major issue, with some of the staff members who spoke on the condition of anonymity expressing unwillingness to take the vaccine.
At National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), there’s no vaccination point. Although, some of the staff members who spoke to LEADERSHIP on the condition of anonymity said they had taken the second dose of AstraZeneca.
“We don’t have the vaccination points here but the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCDA) came to vaccinate our staff and so many people took it. They came to administer the first and second doses but have gone now,” they said.
As the deadline for the compulsory vaccination of federal government staff draws nearer, ministries, department and agencies are making effort to beat the December 1 deadline.
In the ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, LEADERSHIP gathered that arrangement is being made by the human resources department to vaccinate all those that had not received the COVID-19 vaccines.
Already, next week has been set for the officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to visit the ministry to administer the vaccines to the affected staff.
Director of press and public relations in the ministry, Patricia Deworitshe, said: “I know that arrangements were made by the human resources department for those who have not been vaccinated to receive the COVID-19 vaccines.
“The agency in charge is to come over to the ministry to carry out the exercise in the coming week.”
A worker at the ministry, who pleaded anonymity, said any worker who refuses to accept the vaccines is taking the risk of losing his/her job, since the federal government has made it compulsory for all staff.
He added that the workers have no option but to accept the vaccines.
At the Ministry of Interior, LEADERSHIP gathered that over 400 staff members had taken the first dose of the vaccine.
However, there were no available vaccines and manpower to finish the second dose of vaccination in the ministry.
The director of press and public relations in the ministry, Blessing Lere-Adams, said the initial sensitisation by the staff welfare branch of the human resources department and the continuous plea to members of staff are producing results.
She said the fund to pay stipends to the people who started the exercise to enable them finish the vaccination was needed.
Meanwhile, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) said there are enough vaccines on ground as well as manpower to carry out mass vaccination in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
This is even as the federal government is planning a national flag-off of mass vaccination in the FCT on Friday, November 19.
A source in the agency told our correspondent that after the flag off, many more vaccination centres will be open and vaccination will be taken to the mosque, markets, motor parks and all the crowded areas in the city.
The source said mass vaccination was introduced to ensure that more citizens are able to access the vaccine, adding that Lagos have already launched mass vaccination in the state as well as Ogun while more states will do same in the next few days.
She said, “There are enough vaccines and manpower. That is why we are scaling up. Mass vaccination sites have been set up. Beginning from today, I am sure that adverts relating to mass vaccination activities will be on air,” the source hinted.
About 75 per cent of staff members of the Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccines, Leadership learnt.
LEADERSHIP gathered that they had written to NCDC to conduct free tests for staff which they did and it was discovered that of 75 staff tested, only one had the symptoms.
An official of the ministry who refused to disclose his name said the staff was subsequently isolated and treated. He added that the staff of the ministry are ready and willing to take the vaccines, so as to meet the December 1 deadline of the federal government.