Catriona Laing, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, at the weekend debunked statements suggesting that the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines administered in Nigeria were not approved by the United Kingdom (UK). Laing explained that the claim was “completely untrue” and should be disregarded by the Nigerian public.
According to her, the government of UK has also moved Nigeria to the “rest of the world” travel list about the travel rule billed to take effect from October 4, 2021. In a statement yesterday, Laing said the UK approves of vaccines currently in use in Nigeria irrespective of the manufacturer.
She said that Nigeria is on the “rest of the world” list, with simplified travel measures.
She said the UK has so far donated 1.2 million vaccines to Nigeria through COVAX and will continue to support the country in accessing COVID-19 vaccines. She encouraged all eligible Nigerians to get vaccinated to help stop the spread of the virus.
“The UK is committed to global access to vaccines and is among the largest funders to COVAX. The UK has donated 1.2 million vaccines specifically to Nigeria through COVAX and will continue to provide support,” Laing said.
“The UK strongly supports the work of the Nigerian health authorities and Nigeria’s vaccination campaign, and strongly encourages all eligible residents in Nigeria to get vaccinated. Only once we are all vaccinated can we end the spread of COVID-19.
“I would like to emphasise that any statements that COVID-19 vaccines administered in Nigeria are not approved by the UK are completely untrue. The UK recognises the Oxford-Astra Zeneca, Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines used in Nigeria, irrespective of where they are manufactured.”
Speaking about rules concerning international travel to the UK, the high commissioner said the UK is using the COVID-19 vaccination certification process to ensure people enter the country safely. She said from October 4 the current travel system would be simplified and Nigeria which is currently on the amber list will be added to the ‘rest of the world’ list with simplified travel measures.
“The UK is committed to opening up international travel and we are using our COVID-19 vaccination certification process to enable those wishing to enter the UK to do so safely. We know these matters hugely to many people in the UK and Nigeria – the extensive people-people ties between our two countries are at the heart of our bilateral relationship,” she said.
“From October 4, the current system will be simplified. There will be a single red list of countries and territories where stricter rules apply, and there will also be a ‘rest of the world’ list, with simplified travel measures. The ‘rest of the world’ list will include countries currently on the UK’s amber list, such as Nigeria.”
It would be recalled that the UK Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, had on September 17, 2021, announced a simplified system for international travel in light of the success of the country’s domestic vaccine rollout that provides greater stability for industry and passengers. The UK proposed to replace the current traffic light system with a single red list of countries and territories to protect public health.
Testing requirements would also be reduced for eligible fully vaccinated travelers, who will no longer need to take a Pre-Departure Test when travelling to the UK from 4 a.m. of October 4, 2021.