FG threatens to punish sellers, buyers of fake COVID vaccination cards

Reports have been received of people trying to procure cards without getting the vaccine.

President Muhammadu Buhari displays his COVID-19 vaccination card [Presidency]

The Federal Government has warned Nigerians against a recent trend of people producing and selling fake COVID-19 vaccination cards.

Nigeria started its vaccination campaign in March, with over four million people receiving at least one dose of the AstraZeneca or Moderna vaccines since then.

Despite that the vaccine is administered for free, CEO of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, said at a media briefing that reports have been received of people trying to procure cards without getting the vaccine.

He said such reports are already being investigated, and suspected buyers and sellers would be prosecuted by the government.

"No one needs to cut corners on COVID-19 vaccination. The vaccines are free, and the vaccination cards are given free of charge at any of our designated health facility after your vaccination," he said.

Shuaib further noted that state governments must protect vaccine doses and vaccination cards sent to them, warning that those who condone vaccine corruption will no longer get additional allocations.

The demand for fake vaccination cards is possibly connected to the government's repeated suggestions that it might soon impose vaccine mandates that'd require members of the public to present proof of vaccination to access public spaces.

The Edo State government said this week that citizens must present such a proof to access government-owned buildings starting from September 15, 2021.

This is despite the fact that only a fraction of the population has been vaccinated, mostly as a result of limited supply of vaccines.

Nigeria hopes to vaccinate over 110 million people by the end of 2022, but has only vaccinated 4,052,756 as of September 12.

The country has recorded over 200,000 COVID-19 infections since February 2020, with over 2,600 people dead.

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