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NMA, health workers differ as FG plans ban on unvaccinated workers

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The Chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19,  Boss Mustapha, has said Federal Government workers without proof of  COVID-19 vaccination or test results done within 72 hours will be denied access to their offices starting from December 1.

Mustapha, who spoke at the committee briefing on Wednesday in Abuja, said the directive would be applicable in all locations in Nigeria and missions, adding that a circular would be issued to that effect.

The Nigerian Medical Association and virologists, in separate interviews with The PUNCH supported government order.

Experts, including a medical virologist at  Adeleke University, Ede, Osun State, Dr Oladipo Kolawole, said the decision would make more people to be vaccinated.

He, however, said government should give people more time.

On his part, the NMA President, Professor Innocent Uja, said the directive would prevent the spread of the virus in the country.

But spokesman for the Joint Health Sector Unions, Mr Olumide Akintayo, faulted the Federal Government on the grounds that the vaccines were inadequate in the country.

The Federal Government had on August 31 hinted that it might sanction anybody who refused to take COVID-19 vaccines after they had been made available to all Nigerians.

The Executive Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib, who gave the hint of possible sanctions, said those who refused to take the vaccines would be endangering others.

Also on September 3, Mustapha during a meeting with the commissioners for health in Abuja, said the vaccines would be made compulsory for civil servants.

He said other countries were making the vaccine certificate a requirement for international travels.

Mustapha stated that vaccination was made compulsory for civil servants because they would be travelling to perform roles on behalf of the Federal Government.

On Wednesday, the Federal Government went a step further to implement its directive on compulsory COVID-19 vaccination for civil servants.

The SGF disclosed that as from December 1, civil servants without proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results would not be allowed to enter their offices.

He said, “With effect from 1st December, 2021, Federal Government employees shall be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result done within 72 hours, to gain access to their offices, in all locations within Nigeria and our missions. An appropriate service wide advisory, circular will be issued to guide the process. “

He added that over the last four weeks, tests have shown that the trend of infection was going down in some states while in others it had gone upward, noting that a combined total for testing by PCR and RDT now stands at about 3.141,795 million persons.

Mustapha also disclosed that talks were going on with the United Arab Emirates to resolve the impasse.

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