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FG restates Dec 1 deadline for civil servants to vaccinate

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Factual Pursuit of Truth for Progress

The Federal Government has restated the December 1 deadline for federal civil servants to take the Covid-19 vaccines.

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It also warned that vaccination records/certificates would be verified to detect unscrupulous citizens who procure such cards through the black market, threatening prosecution.

The Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on Covid-19 Chairman and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, made this known yesterday at the regular Covid-19 briefing of the panel in Abuja.

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Mustapha assured Nigerians that the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has sufficient vaccines in the pipeline to vaccinate about 50 per cent of the target population by the end of January next year, just as efforts are also ongoing to bring on board the booster dose to build a stronger level of anti-bodies.

Also speaking, the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, noted that Nigeria had made tremendous strides in building its capacity to prevent, detect and respond to diseases of public health importance.

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The Executive Director, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, who made the disclosure at the briefing, vowed that the agency would invalidate all COVID-19 vaccination cards illegally obtained by unvaccinated people during the operation.

Addressing the second Regional Annual Scientific Conference and Induction of Elected Fellows of the West African Postgraduate College of Medical Laboratory Science (WAPCMLS), in Abuja, the President, who was represented by the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, observed that the World Health Organisation (WHO) assisted in training Nigerian scientists for improved capacity to conduct the test and achieve the feat.

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He said with “all the assets we have and the training and skills, we must dedicate ourselves to productivity to show that we can do more.”

Buhari stated that with the support of development partners, the Federal Government had strengthened laboratory capacity in the country.

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In his own contribution, Ehanire, who was represented by the Director of Hospital Services, Dr. Adebimpe Adebiyi, said the theme of the conference, ‘Improving Global Health by Strengthening Laboratory Capacity in Africa,’ was apt, adding that the most populous black nation could not have effectively managed the virus without increasing the number of laboratories for accurate detection and treatment.

The minister pointed out that at the onset of disease, very few laboratories had the capacity to conduct molecular testing, a methodology that has overtaken traditional methods of identifying organisms.

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The professor of virology and chairman of the occasion, Oyewale Tomori, submitted that there were no “need building laboratories if we can not sustain them.”

He added: “It is better for us to have six functional laboratories than having many that are not functional.”

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