The Federal Ministry of Health has informed Chief Medical Directors and Medical Directors of federal tertiary health institutions across the country to be on the watch out for fake COVID-19 vaccines already in circulation in Africa.
In a memo, “Report of fake COVID-19 Vaccines destined for Africa arrested in China” dated March 26, 2021 by the Director, Hospital Services in the ministry, Dr Adebimpe Adebiyi, the ministry said it is in receipt of a letter from the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-l9, regarding the arrest of about 3,000 doses of fake COVlD-19 vaccines, which were Africa-bound from China.
Adebiyi, who disclosed that the report further indicates that the fake COVID-19 vaccines are already in circulation in Africa, informed the heads of federal health institutions that to prevent the importation of fake vaccines, the Nigeria Customs Service has designated Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport as the only Point of Entry (POE) for imported COVID-19 vaccines.
She said: “I am, therefore, to bring this to your notice and dispel any possibility of COVID-19 vaccines being available for sale or administered by any unauthorised institution. Please accept the assurances of my best regards”.
When contacted, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Abdulaziz Mashi Abdullahi, who confirmed the authenticity of the memo, told The Guardian that the office of the Secretary of the Government of the Federation (SGF) has a department which deals with intelligence services, adding that the ministry last month received a report of the fake COVID-19 vaccines from the SGF’s office.
He explained that the essence of the memo was to alert all Chief Medical Directors and Medical Directors, whose facilities are being used for the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination to be on the watch out, considering that vaccine procurement is presently on multilateral basis, government to government.
Abdullahi observed that there is no private sector involvement in vaccine procurement for now, and part of the reason for this was to forestall importation of fake vaccines into the country.
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