Covid-19 vaccine certification: Lack of central vaccine database puts Nigeria on UK’s blacklist

Nigeria has for long been slow to provide a database that could help authenticate the vaccine cards of those vaccinated.

The Federal Government’s failure to provide a single recognised vaccine database is the major reason the United Kingdom, (UK), has refused to approve Nigeria’s vaccine certificate, 

Although the UK relaxed its Covid-19 vaccine policy for more than 50 countries, Nigeria is missing on the list.

The UK government had said Nigeria is on the ‘amber’ list, which has restrictions for travellers to the UK irrespective of whether they have been vaccinated against the dreaded disease.

It said as from October 4,  the new travel system comes into effect with countries and territories categorised as either “red” or “rest of the world.”

While the UK did not give reasons for not including Nigeria on the list of the 50 countries recognised, findings show that the country has since been slow to provide a database that could help authenticate the vaccine cards of those vaccinated.

Apart from having a synchronised database, travel experts have suggested that the international regulator, IATA, travel passes are also accepted as an authentic means of vaccine certificate verification.

IATA Travel Pass is a mobile app that helps travellers to store and manage their verified certifications for COVID-19 tests or vaccines. It is more secure and efficient than current paper processes used to manage health requirements (the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis, for example).

This, observers say  is important, given the potentially enormous scale of testing or vaccine verifications that will need to be securely managed.

In a statement on its website, the UK government released a list of over 50 countries with approved Covid-19 vaccination programmes and proof of vaccination for travel to England.

The government said that the new simplified travel system meant that eligible fully vaccinated passengers and eligible under-18s returning from over 50 countries and territories, not on the red list, can do so without needing to complete a pre-departure test (PDT), an 8-day test, or enter a 10-day self-isolation period, making it easier for those travelling — whether that’s to see friends and family, or on business trips.

The statement further explained that eligible fully-vaccinated passengers with an approved vaccine and recognised certificate from a country not on the red list would be able to replace their 2-day test with a cheaper lateral flow test, reducing the cost of tests on arrival into England.

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