The Federal Government says it will begin COVID-19 vaccination and tests on arrival for passengers coming into the country, following the resurgence in cases globally.
Jeffrey Okatubo, director of Port Health Services (PHS), who made this known at a ministerial press briefing organised by the federal ministry of health in Abuja, said the port health authorities were continuing surveillance across ports of entry to prevent importation of the virus.
Okatubo said the country currently carries out temperature checks on every passenger coming in and visual observations, through which it has been able to detect a few cases of COVID-19.
“But very soon, we will expand on that; we will soon start checking the vaccination status of every passenger coming into the country. And for passengers who are unvaccinated, they may need to be vaccinated on arrival. We will soon have posts where we will carry out vaccination of such people.
“We will have a rapid diagnostic test for suspected passengers where we will test such people for COVID-19, and if positive, will be transported to an appropriate facility for further evaluation,” he explained.
The director further expressed concerns that passengers were not filling the online health mobilisation form, and urged passengers to do so or fill hardcopies at airports.
In his address, Osagie Ehanire, minister of health said new Omicron sub variants, BA.5.2 and BF.7, as well as the XBB.1.5 have not yet been detected in the country. He added that there is also no increase in hospitalisation and severe illnesses.
The minister, however, urged Nigerians to get vaccinated and take all precautionary measures, which include hand hygiene, wearing of face masks, use of sanitisers, among others to avoid a fourth wave.
“I want to re-emphasise that the community transmission of COVID-19 is on-going, and I urge all citizens to avail themselves of the opportunity to be fully vaccinated. I want to reassure those that the vaccine is safe and everyone should get vaccinated while still maintaining all non-pharmaceutical preventive measures”, he said.
Also speaking, Faisal Shuaib, the executive director, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), informed that Nigeria has a vaccine stock balance of 28,968,045 doses, and more vaccines are still expected over the coming weeks.
“We, therefore, encourage all Nigerians to visit the nearest government facility to ensure they are up to date with either their first, second or booster doses. The COVID-19 vaccines are available, they are free and they are safe,” he urged.
As at Monday, January 9, 2023 the ED informed that 76,161,470 eligible persons have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccines in Nigeria, representing 65.7 of the eligible population, while 64,094,498 persons have been fully vaccinated which represents 55.3 percent of the eligible population.
He also disclosed that the country recorded an increase in the number of eligible population from 111,773,503 to 115,983,921 as a result of an increase in the number of persons who turned 18 years.