Two southern Nigerian states want to make vaccination mandatory for access to public places and gatherings to speed up the Covid-19 vaccination campaign.
To curb the resurgence of the pandemic, several European countries have already introduced health passes or vaccine passports that have sparked protests in France and Italy in recent weeks.
Introducing similar measures in Nigeria analysts fear may be complicated in a country that has received less than 10 million doses of vaccine for a population of over 200 million.
Last week, Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki gave residents until mid-September to get vaccinated or risk being barred from certain places, including banks, private functions, churches and mosques. “We have made adequate arrangements with the security agencies to prevent anyone without a vaccination card from entering these places,” said Godwin Obaseki.
As of Monday August 30, only 2.8 million people had received a first dose nationwide, according to the national agency in charge of the immunization program (NPHCDA).
The agency hailed “the example set by the governor of Edo State” in urging the population to get vaccinated.
But following the governor’s announcement, some people took to the streets of Benin in protest on Monday holding banners and chanting anti-vaccine slogans.
Nigeria has officially recorded 191,805 infections and 2,455 deaths since February 2020, but the actual numbers are likely to be much higher, in part because of low screening rates.
Another southern Nigerian state, Ondo, has also given residents two weeks to get vaccinated.
“Proof of vaccination will be the requirement for access to public places, churches, mosques,” the state’s information minister, Donald Ojogo, told local media.