Government agencies operating at the airports have put plans in place to ensure no traveller leaves the country with fake yellow card or avoid being vaccinated
With the new steps those involved in hawking and selling of the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP), international health certificate popularly called Yellow card to travellers at Lagos airports, would be discouraged.
The approval of the Federal Government to introduce a new Yellow Card with advanced security features, is also making the era of fake issuance of the international health certificate difficult for perpetrators.
The card, which is machine-readable, is said to have the ability to store vaccination history of the holder.
According to the Federal Ministry of health, the card was designed to put an end to the era of fake yellow card issued by un-authorised personnel.
August 1, 2018 marked the official expiry date of the old yellow card and commencement of issuance of electronic yellow card.
“The card has increasingly become an essential travel document, with several embassies making it a prerequisite for visa application”, the ministry added.
To this end, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN is also prepared to ensure that any yellow card presented by travellers at the nations airports are genuine.
The Airport Manager, Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, Mrs. Victoria Shinaba has described the e- yellow card as a welcome development.
She said they are particularly happy about it because this will stop touting of the cards at the MMIA.
“At least all this touting of our yellow card will completely be eradicated, people will not get outside the country and they say they are carrying fake yellow card and those doing back hand businesses with it will also be eradicated”.
Shinaba said they are working closely with the port health services in the area of sensitization of the travellers to keep them away from touts.
“We have given them the go ahead to deploy banners so that people are aware, passengers are aware, the explanation of how to get the e-yellow card is simple and the design too is good, you can code it to know whether is genuine or not, it is a positive one, we are working closely with port health on this”.
“This is a good thing that is happening to us this, all this touting of our yellow card will be a thing of the pass”, she added.
The MMIA Airport Manager also noted that the health of travellers and the nation are important as the continuous monitoring of travellers for any communicable diseases like the Ebola virus disease is still ongoing at the Lagos international airport.
She said the port health services has deployed an additional infrared screening machine with dual view to effectively capture arriving passengers with the health officials on ground 24/7 to monitor all arriving passengers.
“Now they even have dual view, before it used to be just one view, so the passenger will be viewing it, the nurses or the port health officers will be viewing it too. While you are passing by you are seeing it”.
Yellow fever is a viral hemorrhagic fever transmitted to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes. This can become a deadly disease especially for people who have not been vaccinated.
A single dose of the yellow fever vaccine, however, provides lifelong protection against the disease. The vaccine gives immunity within 30 days and is effective for 99 percent of persons vaccinated.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that to travel to countries where there is evidence of persistent or periodic yellow fever virus transmission, people need to be vaccinated and obtain the yellow card.
According to the federal ministry of health, to obtain an e-yellow card, one has to register on the official website in addition to paying N2,000.
“The payment receipt will then be taken along with the applicant’s international passport to any port health services office to get vaccinated so as to complete the process”.
The ministry said it takes maximum of an hour for the card to be ready after vaccination, and that international travellers are to be vaccinated at least 10 days before travelling.