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Nigerian government alerts health institutions of fake coronavirus vaccine in circulation

Chinese police have uncovered a number of cases involving production and distribution of fake COVID-19 vaccines with doses up to 58,000, the country’s prosecutor general’s office said on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Health has alerted all tertiary health institutions in Nigeria of the circulation of fake COVID-19 vaccine in Africa and the need to be on the lookout.

The ministry also dispelled any possibility of COVID-19 vaccines being available for sale or being administered by any unauthorised institution in the country.

This was contained in a circular issued by the ministry’s Director, Department of Hospital Services, Dr. Adebimpe Adeblyi, on behalf of the minister, Osagie Ehanire.

The circular dated March 26, 2021, a copy of which our correspondent sighted on Saturday was addressed to Chief Medical Directors/Medical Directors of federal tertiary health institutions.

Titled “Report of fake COVID-19 vaccine destined for Africa arrested in China,” the circular has C.1693/P&P/T/22 as its reference number.

The ministry noted that to forestall importation of fake vaccine into Nigeria, the Nigeria Customs Service has designated the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja as the only point of entry for imported COVID-19 vaccines.

The circular read, “The Ministry is in receipt of a letter from the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 regarding the arrest of about 3,000 doses of fake COVID-19 vaccines which were Africa-bound from China.

“The report further indicates that the fake COVID-19 vaccines are already in circulation in Africa.

“To prevent the importation of fake vaccines, kindly note that the Nigeria Customs Service has designated Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport as the only Point of Entry for imported COVID-19 vaccines.

“I am therefore to bring this to your notice and dispel any possibility of COVID-19 vaccines being available for sale or being administered by any unauthorised institution.

“Please accept the assurances of my best regards.”

Recall that the International Criminal Police Organisation and the United States’ Homeland Security Investigations had warned the public against purchasing COVID-19 vaccines and treatments online.

With criminal groups producing, distributing and selling fake vaccines, they said the risks to the public can include buying a product which only does not protect against COVID-19, but poses a serious health hazard if ingested or injected.

Such products are not tested, regulated or safety-checked, the warning published on INTERPOL’s website said.

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