Lagos State Government, and Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has debunked claims that the state, particularly some of its vaccination centres were compromising on the vaccination protocols rolled out by the Federal Government.
It explained that contrary to reports, the state and its designated vaccination centers had been following laid down protocols put in place by the central government in respect of the vaccination regime.
As stated, the allegations bordering on the sate deploying its own portal to register people; diversification of vaccine; and sale of vaccine were handiwork of mischief makers seeking to bring the state to disrepute.
Reacting to the allegations, the state’s Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, said that necessary mechanisms have been put in place to checkmate incidence of racketeering in the state.
Speaking when he paid an unscheduled visit to the vaccination centers located inside the Police Hospital, Falomo and the Mainland Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba to inspect activities at the vaccination sites, alongside his Information and Strategy counterpart, Gbenga Omotoso, Abayomi noted that any centre found wanting would be prosecuted accordingly.
He added that his team, in getting a firsthand view of the process at the sites, ascertained the allegations and that investigations showed that the centers activities are in line with government’s protocol and best practices.
According to the commissioner, top officials of the ministry and independent assessors have 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 at the site and ensure that vaccination protocols are strictly implemented.
“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, Kayode Egbetokun, denied the allegations and challenged anyone with evidence of malpractices to come forward with it.
“From day 1 of vaccination, Falomo hospital has been insisting on strict adherence to the guidelines given by the state government in this exercise. Our committment to, not just doing the right thing but doing things right is unwavering. We were looking forward to making the Police hospital, Falomo a model center in this exercise. We acknowledge that only the innocent and those who do the right thing get wrongly accused. We are also aware that wrong accusations in this environment stick more easily if made against the police. Let it therefore be known that the Falomo center is only located within the police health facility; members of the vaccination team, the Coordinators, the supervisors and the organisers are not of the police, in case this is the thinking that is bringing the allegation of money exchanging hands.
“The responsibility of the police in this exercice is to provide the needed support to ensure smooth conduct of the vaccination, especially at centers located within our facilities.
“There has not been any material evidence, not even the least of it to substantiate this wild allegation other than the mere suspicion or imagination of the maker. The faceless individual is advised to come forward to substantiate the allegation with evidence if he/she has any. The choice of a media house to lodge a criminal complaint rather than the concerned relevant authorities says much about the intention behind the story.
“The airing of an unsubstantiated report that is capable of smearing the police health facility being used as center and which brings discredit to the genuine effort of government in this exercise is also unacceptable and should stop forthwith in the interest of all,” the police boss 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 was “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 was difficult and near impossible for any unit of vaccine to be sold without being detected.
“This 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.