Several intending passengers were stranded at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on Tuesday and Wednesday due to the scarcity of the International Certificate for Vaccination also known as yellow card.
The yellow card is issued as evidence of vaccination against yellow fever and is a major requirement at the entry point of many African countries.
It was gathered that the scarcity, which became noticeable on Tuesday, forced many passengers to postpone their trips till Wednesday. Early on Wednesday, many of the passengers who had met the requirements for the vaccination process but could not be issued the card, were seen in a long queue at the headquarters of the Port Health Services at the airport.
Many of the passengers were said to be travelling to African and South American countries where the presentation of the card was mandatory before entry. The passengers pleaded with the concerned authorities to come to their aid by ensuring the availability of the cards before the end of the day.
The Federal Executive Council had earlier this year approved the introduction of a new yellow card for Nigeria. The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said the new yellow card was forgery-proof as it had advanced security features.
According to him, there have been several reports of fake yellow cards being issued.
“One of the challenges we had in the past with the current yellow card is that it could be issued by anybody and those who did not even receive the vaccination could also, in fact, get a card signed for them. With this new card, you cannot fake the yellow card. Using a card reader, we can also document your vaccination status,” he had stated.
The Director, Port Health Services, Alex Okoh, however, explained that the situation had been brought under control.
“Many passengers have been issued with the cards. It is not that we didn’t have yellow cards to issue to them, but we had to follow the procedures for issuance,” he said.