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The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) under its Public Education on COVID-19 Vaccine Project has alleged that vaccine administrators in Kogi State are demanding money from people before vaccinating them, thereby reducing the uptake of the vaccine.

CITAD, therefore, appealed to the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, to as a matter of urgency, direct the immediate stoppage to what it described as “pay to get vaccinated” by providing data and another form of support to vaccine administrators in the state.

The disclosure was made by the Coordinator of its Public Education on COVID-19 Vaccine Project, Hamza Ibrahim while briefing journalists in Bauchi on Friday on key hindrances to the COVID-19 vaccination exercise in the states.

He added that “the issue of requesting people to make payments to be vaccinated will not only hamper the vaccination exercise, but make people stay away from taking the vaccine, and this potentially renders more people insecure.”

He said further that “Our observation also discovered a serious lack of coordination in the vaccine distribution by agencies responsible within the healthcare chain.”

“While in Borno State, people going for second doses of AstraZeneca and Moderna were told the vaccines are not available. In Plateau State, 45,288 doses of Pfizer had to be recalled after distribution to local communities for nearing expiration. Again visits to some vaccination spots in Plateau indicate the non-availability of the vaccines.”

The Nation reports that the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) with support from the MacArthur Foundation, is implementing a “Public Education on COVID-19 Vaccine” in six states of the north. The states are Bauchi, Borno, Kaduna, Kogi, Kano, and Plateau.

The project is aimed at creating awareness around the COVID-19 vaccine.

Ibrahim said, “Having monitored COVID-19 vaccine administration in the six project states for the last two months, we are displeased to note that we have identified both general and specific issues that are hindering the uptake of the vaccine, thereby further risking the efforts at addressing the pandemic.

“This, we must say, is unfortunate, particularly at a time when new variants of the virus are emerging. While we noticed that misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine is still prevalent, we also regret to note here that state governments are in some ways aiding non-acceptance of the vaccine by not fully supporting the vaccination exercise where people who want to be vaccinated are required by the vaccination officials to make the payments for their details to be captured and uploaded online. This, we particularly found happening in Kogi.”

He added that “the issue of requesting people to make payments to be vaccinated will not only hamper the vaccination exercise, but make people stay away from taking the vaccine, and this potentially renders more people insecure.”

He said further that “Our observation also discovered a serious lack of coordination in the vaccine distribution by agencies responsible within the healthcare chain.”

“While in Borno State, people going for second doses of AstraZeneca and Moderna were told the vaccines are not available. In Plateau State, 45,288 doses of Pfizer had to be recalled after distribution to local communities for nearing expiration. Again visits to some vaccination spots in Plateau indicate the non-availability of the vaccines.”

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