The Lagos State Government has denied allegations of malpractices, diversification and sale of covid vaccines in some vaccination centres in the state, stating that the inoculation protocols rolled out by the Nigerian government will never be compromised.
Tunbosun Ogunbanwo, the Director, Public Affairs, in a statement quoted the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Akin Abayomi, as having debunked the claims when he paid an unscheduled visit to some vaccination centres on Thursday.
Recent reports had suggested there were on going malpractices in some vaccination centres across the state such as: the State deploying its own portal to register people; diversification of vaccine; and sale of vaccine.
The statement disclosed that the State government has vaccinated over 100,000 persons since the vaccination exercise started.
“Abayomi and his Information and Strategy counterpart, Mr Gbenga Omotoso visited the vaccination centers located inside the Police Hospital, Falomo and the Mainland Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba to inspect activities at the vaccination sites,” the statement read.
“The visit, according to Abayomi, is geared towards getting a firsthand view of the process at the sites, ascertaining the allegations and determining whether activities at the sites are in line with government’s protocol and best practices.
“While noting that unscheduled visits to vaccination sites are part of the State government’s monitoring and compliance strategy to ensure a seamless vaccination, the Commissioner said top officials of the Ministry and independent assessors had been going round to ensure compliance to vaccination protocols.
“Abayomi disclosed that the visit was to verify the allegations of malpractices at the site and ensure that vaccination protocols are strictly implemented.”
He said: “This is Falomo Police medical facility, which has been in the press recently. This is an unscheduled visit and they did not know we were coming. We do this all the time; we pay unscheduled visits to our facilities without informing the management in order to find out firsthand and real time how things are in the facilities.
“The Commissioner of Police in charge of this facility is not aware we are coming and this is deliberate in order for us to find out if there is any truth in the allegations that have been made against the centre, although we have done our investigation”.
Responding to the allegation of malpractices, the Commissioner of Police in Charge of the Hospital, Mr. Kayode Egbetokun, denied the claims and challenged anyone with evidence of malpractices to come forward with it.
He said: “The Lagos State Government has stated clearly the categories of people that are qualified for vaccination in the first phase of the exercise. Before you can come into this facility, you must qualify for the vaccination and if you see the notice at the entrance of our facility, there is a notice listing the categories of people to be vaccinated and these are the groups of people we grant admission here.
“Anybody can make allegations, but anybody making allegations of thugs at our gate should come and substantiate the allegation. We at Falomo have continued to insist on strict adherence to the guidelines given by the state government.
“Nobody can collect money here; the allegation is baseless. Anybody who is alleging that somebody is collecting money should come forward with evidence”.
Abayomi also debunked the allegation of vaccine sales at any of the 88 vaccination sites, stating that the allegation at the Ikate vaccination site is “untrue and baseless”.
He explained that COVID vaccination protocols are strictly monitored to ensure accountability of every unit of the vaccine received by the State, adding that every unit administered on citizens is accounted for at every stage of the process.
Abayomi noted that every unit of vaccine administered tallies with the vaccination card and the barcode on the vaccination card as part of the quality assurance and accountability framework put in place. He stated that it is difficult and near impossible for any unit of vaccine to be sold without being detected.
“This is why vaccinators are mandated to return every unit vaccine vial after use to us for proper audit; we then destroy the vial ourselves after proper audit has been taken and every vial accounted for”, he said.
The Commissioner, while imploring citizens to desist from making unsubstantiated allegations and comments about the vaccination, challenged anyone with evidence of corrupt practices to come forward with it.
He noted that false allegations and rumours peddled by some citizens about the vaccination are inimical to the goal of the campaign, which the State government is striving to achieve.
Abayomi advised Lagosians to jettison any allegation that is not substantiated, stressing that it is a deliberate attempt to subvert the exercise and discourage citizens from accepting the vaccine.
By Abel Ejikeme