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FG sets December 1 COVID-19 vaccination deadline for workers

By Chukwuma Muanya, Silver Nwokoro (Lagos) and Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze (Abuja)
14 October 2021   |   3:47 am
The Federal Government has set a December 1 deadline for civil servants to be vaccinated. Chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 and Secretary to Government of the Federation ...

A visitor holds a Covid-19 vaccination pass. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

• Removes Turkey, Brazil, S’Africa from restriction list
• DR Congo begins Ebola inoculation as India resumes jab exports

The Federal Government has set a December 1 deadline for civil servants to be vaccinated. Chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 and Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, made the disclosure yesterday in Abuja.

“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.”

He also revealed that the government had delisted South Africa, Brazil and Turkey from restriction schedule.

This is even as Nigeria and other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are on red alert, as the Democratic Republic of Congo, yesterday, began Ebola vaccination after a fresh case was reported last week.

Also, India has resumed a small amount of exports of COVID-19 vaccines and will increase exports significantly in the next few months, as domestic stocks build up and more of its large population gets inoculated.

Recall that the jab shortage, currently being experienced especially in poor countries like Nigeria, is because the Asian nation was badly hit by the second and third waves of the pandemic and could not meet up with vaccine demands.

It was learnt that most vaccines deployed in Nigeria and other Sub-Saharan African countries are paid for by ‘rich’ countries, but manufactured in India.

So, the implication of India resuming exports of COVID-19 vaccines is that Nigeria and other poor countries will soon receive more doses.

The World Health Organisation (WHO), in a statement, said: “Ebola vaccination began today (yesterday) in Democratic Republic of the Congo’s North Kivu Province where a case was confirmed on October 8. People at high risk, including contacts of the confirmed case and first responders will receive the doses as the health authorities move to curb the spread of the virus.

“The confirmed case was a two-year old boy, who died on October 6 in a local health facility. He lived in the same community where three members of the same family died in September after experiencing Ebola-like symptoms.”

According to the global health agency, about 1000 doses of the rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccine and other medical supplies have been delivered from the capital Kinshasa to Goma city in North Kivu and around 200 doses dispatched to Beni city, which is near the Butsili health area where the confirmed case was detected.

WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, stated: “Ebola is a virulent, lethal virus that can spread aggressively and fast. But vaccines can create a firewall of protection around cases, stopping the chain of transmission and averting a potentially large outbreak and saving many lives.”

“The Democratic Republic of the Congo is spearheading the efforts to halt this latest Ebola resurgence, banking on expertise built in responding to previous outbreaks.”

Besides, the Rotary Club of Lekki Phase 1, District 9110 has called on Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), as well as the federal and state governments to increase awareness in underserved communities to reduce the rising COVID-19 incidence in the country.

Its President, Mrs. Ifeoma Anieze-Corona, who was speaking during an outreach at the Gbara-Mayegun Community Health Centre in Lekki, Lagos State, where the club donated facemasks, soaps and sanitisers, pointed out that the appeal became necessary to break the myth that the virus does not exist.

She said: “We went to sensitive them about the existence of COVID-19 and the reason they must wear facemasks and wash their hands. I think most of them listened and they understood, but that doesn’t dismiss the fact that there are people who do not believe the disease exists.”