HEALTH workers in some vaccination centres across Nigeria compromised professional standards by issuing COVID-19 vaccination cards without administering vaccine doses.
A report by the Media Advocacy West Africa Foundation (MAWA-Foundation) disclosed that health workers in Plateau, Ebonyi, Gombe and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) collected bribes ranging between N2000 and N40,000 to issue vaccination cards to Nigerians wary of the vaccine.
Upon collecting the bribes, the health workers uploaded the individuals’ relevant data on the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) platform and send text messages to confirm vaccination.
According to the report, some officials at the Kuru II Primary Health Centre (PHC) in Kushe, Plateau State, collected N25,000 for two vaccination cards while some health workers at a PHC in Rayfield, Jos, demanded N40,000 for a card.
Some health workers at Amagu PHC in Ezza South, Ebonyi State, collected N3000 per card, while those at Pobawure PHC in Billiri, Gombe State, collected N10,000.
At a vaccination centre in Gwagwa, FCT, health workers gave out cards without vaccines at the rate of N5000 per card.
The report noted that the practice has continued despite threats by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) to prosecute and dismiss health workers involved.
Executive Director of the NPHCDA Faisal Shuaib said during a press briefing last year that security and anti-graft operatives were collaborating with the agency on the issue.
“There is zero tolerance to these types of activities. The DSS and ICPC are involved. Once these individuals who are involved in this vaccination racketeering are charged to court, then, of course, the public service rules will be followed and that will lead to potential suspension and firing of these health workers,” he said.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha also said vaccine certificates issued in the country would be verified.
The SGF warned that anyone found in possession of forged cards would face prosecution.
“Let me assure everyone that the vaccination records/certificates will be verified and this should serve as a warning to those criminally minded persons to desist because they will be prosecuted accordingly,” he said.