Nigeria

Kogi agency denies cash-for-coronavirus-vaccine allegation

FILE PHOTO - A medical worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in a vaccination center in Paris, France, July 23, 2021. REUTERS-Sarah Meyssonnier

The Kogi State Primary Health Care Development Agency (KSPHCDA) has denied reports of alleged demand for money by COVID-19 administrators for vaccine.

An NGO, the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) at a news conference in Bauchi State, alleged that vaccine administrators in Kogi demanded money from people before vaccinating them.

A statement by the Executive Director of the agency, Dr Abubakar Yakubu, on Tuesday in Lokoja, said the report was misleading and far from the reality of COVID-19 vaccination in the state.

He stressed that the report was most likely not true as the NGO failed to back up its purported findings with actual facts, and without using, appropriate channels.

The KSPHCDA boss added that the said discovery should have been addressed to the appropriate agency in the state, rather than addressing newsmen in Bauchi.

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Yakubu added that the agency had been engaging in high-level social sensitisation and mobilisation advocacy across communities in the state, in order to improve on the vaccination exercise.

”How can something we are practically persuading people to take now be the same thing we are demanding for money before administering?” Yakubu queried.

He emphasised that the agency was closely monitoring activities of the administrators and how they persuaded people across the state to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

He maintained that the claim by the NGO was practically impossible to happen in Kogi, where the Agency and the State Ministry of Health were still doing a high-level advocacy and community sensitisation alongside relevant NGOs for COVID-19 vaccine uptake.

”The state government completely rejects the report and thereby demand for an immediate and unreserved apology from the publisher of the fake news as well as its generator, CITAD.

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“Failure to tender the apology, the government will be forced to take punitive measures against the NGO and its collaborators,” he said.

Meanwhile, Yakubu explained that the agency had set up a team of investigators who were painstakingly analysing the report in order to expose the perpetrators as well as the motive behind their action.

Mr Folayan Idowu, the State Coordinator National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) described the publication, as unfounded.

Idowu, who is also a member of the State Joint Task Force on COVID-19 Vaccination, said the task force had been embarking on weekly patrol to monitor the administration of COVID-19 vaccines across the state.

He added that there was no record of such an incident.

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