By Louis Ibah
The shortage of International Certificate for Vaccination also known as yellow cards is creating problems for some Nigerian passengers traveling out of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos to countries where the card is a major entry requirement for non-nationals.
Some of the countries that insist visitors must have the yellow card as evidence of being free from some contagious diseases include, Kenya, Benin Republic, South Africa, Ghana, Brazil and some other countries around the world except Europe.
Passenger normally pays the sum of N1,000 to get the card, which is issued after being screened and given an injection by Port Health officials at the airport or any of their offices.
However, in the last three days, there has been a shortage of the yellow cards at the Port Health office of the Lagos airport.
On Wednesday, some passengers had besieged the Port Health office complaining of their inability to secure the cards and the attendant implications to their travel plans. One passenger who identified himself as Cletus said for the past two days, he had tried to get the card but to no avail. “My Yellow Card had expired and I am to travel to South Africa this weekend. I have been to the Port Health office for the past two days, but they keep asking me to come back. It’s apparent that the cards are in short supply and this is very bad,” he said. “Some passengers have had to cancel their flights because there is no way they will be admitted into the countries that they are going to without the cards. It’s a very frustrating experience and it doesn’t speak well of Nigeria,” he added.
Director, Port Health Services, Lagos Airport, Dr. Nike Okoh, has however denied the scarcity of the cards.
Okoh, told aviation correspondents that the cards were delivered to the Port Health office yesterday morning by supplier, but that some procedures had to be followed before they could be issued to passengers.
She said: “There is no any scarcity of the card at the airport. We have them at hand and in fact, some of them arrived our facility today (Wednesday), which we intend to distribute to deserving passengers,” she said.