The Lagos State Government has reiterated that it will never compromise the vaccination protocols rolled out by the Federal Government, just as it debunked allegations that the State is deploying its own portal to register people and engaging in diversion and sales of vaccines.
Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, stated this on Thursday during an unscheduled visit to some vaccination centres, revealing 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 centres located inside the Police Hospital, Falomo, and the Mainland Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba to inspect the ongoing exercise.
The visit, according to Abayomi, was geared towards getting a firsthand view of the process at the sites, ascertaining the allegations and determining whether activities at the centres are in line with government’s protocol and best practices.
While noting that the 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.
Speaking after monitoring activities at the vaccination site located inside the Police Hospital, Falomo, Abayomi disclosed that the visit was to verify the allegations of malpractices 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”, he said.
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”, stressing that the COVID vaccination protocols are strictly monitored to ensure accountability of every unit of the vaccine received by the State.
While maintaining that every unit administered to citizens is accounted for at every stage of the process, he submitted that every unit of vaccine administered tallies with the vaccination card and its barcode, 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, saying that “vaccinators are mandated to return every unit vaccine vial after use to us for proper audit; we then destroy the vial ourselves after the proper audit has been taken and every vial accounted for”.
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, noting that false allegations and rumours peddled by some citizens about the vaccination is inimical to the goal of the campaign, which the State government is striving to achieve.
Abayomi, therefore, 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.
Responding to the allegation of malpractices at Falomo Police Medical Facility, the Commissioner of Police in Charge of the Hospital, Mr. Kayode Egbetokun, denied it all and challenged anyone with evidence of malpractices to come forward with it.
His words: “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 as contained in the notice at the entrance of our facility, which lists the categories of people to be vaccinated, and these are the groups of people we grant admission here”.