Two Nigerian States Try Out COVID Vaccine Passes
Two states, Edo and Ondo, are trying to introduce COVID-19 vaccine passes for access to public places and gatherings, in a bid to increase vaccination rates.
Health passes or vaccine passports, required for entry to places like restaurants, gyms and cinemas, are already in place in some European countries though they have triggered protests in France, Greece and Italy as unfair to the unvaccinated.
Introducing similar measures in Nigeria will be complicated in a country that has received less than 10 million vaccines for a population of more than 210 million people.
Southern Nigeria Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki last week gave residents up to the second week of September to get a vaccine or risk being barred from some places, including banks, receptions, churches and mosques.
“We have made adequate arrangements with security agencies to prevent anybody who doesn’t have vaccination cards from accessing any of these places,” Obaseki said.
Nigerians have so far been hesitant about taking the vaccine. As of Monday, only 2.8 million people had received a first dose, according to the agency in charge of the roll-out, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.
“We would like to encourage governors to continue to provide leadership in the mobilisation of citizens to prioritise the acceptance of COVID-19 vaccine,” NPHCDA director Faisal Shuaib said.
“We are particularly enthused by the example shown by the Governor of Edo State,” he added.
Another state in southern Nigeria, Ondo, has also given residents two weeks to take the shots.
“Evidence of vaccination will be the condition to access public places, churches, mosques,” information commissioner Donald Ojogo told local media.