By Ejike Ejike, Abuja
Eleven days after the flag-off of COVID-19 vaccination exercise, only 8,000 Nigerians have received jabs of the vaccine in 35 states and the federal capital territory (FCT).
The executive director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, who stated this yesterday at a briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 said Kogi is the only state that is yet to receive the vaccine because the cold chains for preservation of the vaccines was under repair.
Shuaib also dismissed rumours and concerns about the use of AstraZeneca vaccine in Nigeria, stating that the vaccine is still effective and there was no evidence of blood clothing after use of the vaccine.
Besides, he said the vaccine is cheaper than others in the market because the producers decided to sell at production cost rather than seek profits.
He further said instead of the price of the vaccine being the reason to reject it, its efficacy should matter as countries like the United Kingdom and many others are still using it.
On the concerns raised about the registration process, Shuaib said anyone who is qualified but is unable to register should go to any of the vaccination centres where he or she could be registered manually.
FG Bans Emirate From Operating In Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the federal government yesterday banned Emirate Airlines from operating in Nigeria from tomorrow.
This followed the continued disagreement between the airline and the presidential taskforce on COVID-19 over the airline’s insistence on pre-boarding rapid diagnostic test even after the passengers have been tested and cleared in line with the PTF guidelines.
Speaking at the weekly briefing of the PTF, chairman of the PTF and secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha said, “The discussions with the KLM and Emirates are still on-going on the issue of pre-boarding testing for passengers whose final destination of travel are in their home bases.
“KLM will resume outbound flights from Lagos on March 15, 2021 (today) without RDTs while a letter has been written to Emirates airlines to suspend flights with effect from midnight Wednesday, March 17, 2021. However, discussions are on-going to resolve the matter amicably.”
The Nigerian government had last month ban Emirates temporary for violating guidelines issued by the country’s presidential task force on COVID-19.
Enugu, Kano, Port Harcourt International Airports To Reopen In May
The PTF chairman, Mustapha, also said the international airports in Kano, Enugu and Port Harcourt would soon be reopened as all measures have been put in place.
Confirming this, minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said the international wing of these airports will reopen between May 3 and May 30, 2021.
Mustapha said, “You would recall that at the beginning of the ban on international and domestic travels, airports in Nigeria were locked down. The major concern for the ban on international flights was to prevent importation of the virus.
“The ban has since been lifted after necessary infrastructure, personnel and systems were put in place in Lagos and Abuja airports.
In order to further energise the economies of states in the North West, South-South and South East, a timetable has been prepared for the reopening of Kano, Port Harcourt and Enugu international airports.”