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Volunteers on Covid jab trials should get travel certificates, say top scientists


Volunteers on Covid jab trials should get travel certificates, say top scientists

Senior government science advisers from the UK, Europe and Canada have called on countries around the world to offer vaccination certificates to volunteers on Covid jab trials so they can travel internationally.

The UK has led the way in granting vaccine certificates to trial participants, but many countries have failed to follow suit and refuse to admit people unless they have had two doses of Covid vaccine that has already gone through trials and been approved by regulators.

The situation means many tens of thousands of people globally who enrolled in clinical trials to assess Covid vaccines, or combinations of different shots, cannot travel abroad unless they get an additional round of approved jabs.

In an open letter to governments around the world 14 senior advisers, including England’s chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty, and the UK’s chief scientist, Sir Patrick Vallance, warn that preventing trial volunteers from travelling was “unfair” and had led some participants to drop out of trials and seek extra vaccinations.

“Vaccine clinical trial volunteers have given their time freely to help others, and clinical trials are the way in which the world can understand which vaccines work and are safe,” the letter states. “There is a moral and ethical obligation to treat volunteers in a way that feels fair to them and to the wider public. It is the right thing to do.”

Among those affected are more than 15,000 people who took part in the phase 3 Novavax trial at hospitals across the UK. The firm has not yet submitted the trial data to regulators for approval.

Kris Gumbrell, the chief executive officer of a pub chain, took part in the Novavax trial and received four shots in total, two vaccine, two placebo, between October 2020 and April 2021. He has a vaccine certificate that can be used to enter events in the UK, but he cannot travel to any country that requires approved vaccines. To complicate matters further, the NHS app considers him vaccinated so he cannot book the extra shots he now wants so he can travel with his family in January.

“You hit a brick wall because your Novavax vaccination doesn’t count. You’re stuck in this trap. You can’t go anywhere that requires an approved vaccine,” Gumbrell said. “There’s an awful lot of upset people out there. The UK has done a huge amount of heavy lifting with vaccine trials. The politicians should be fighting our corner more.”

In an effort to find a solution, the UK government announced last week that it would provide two shots of the approved Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for thousands of Britons who took part in trials so they could travel abroad – meaning they would have four shots of Covid vaccine total.

The letter urges foreign governments to issue vaccine certificates or “passports” to volunteers on vaccine trials that have been approved by regulators, regardless of whether the participants have received unlicensed vaccines, combinations of shots, or even placebo jabs.

“Given the numbers of trial participants globally, the population contribution of admitting a small number of placebo recipients in trials will be trivial in terms of public health and national disease epidemiology,” the letter states.

“Of course trials will continue to be needed to improve vaccine design and coverage, especially as the virus mutates and evolves. Anything that acts as a disincentive to participate in trials will be to the detriment of public health,” it adds.

Prof Saul Faust, the Wessex regional lead for Covid vaccine trials at the University of Southampton, said the letter was “a massively important intervention” by Chris Whitty and his colleagues.

“Vaccine trial participants – of whom there are more than 50,000 in the UK but many tens of thousands more globally – have been discriminated against as second class citizens by politicians globally instead of treated as the heroes they are. Without them we would have no vaccines at all,” Faust said. “While the UK decided to honour participants with UK accreditation before the summer, because no other countries have agreed this principle none of our UK participants have been able to travel or go abroad so far without lying to get extra doses of approved vaccines – also at considerable personal risk as the effects of such combinations or doses are unknown.”

“If governments don’t sort this out, no one will ever want to take part in trials again, so booster trials and of any future pandemic vaccines will be at risk,” he added.

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Bauchi pays N3.418bn in outstanding gratuities

The Bauchi State Pensions Board has announced that, from May 2019 to date, the state government has paid N3,418,288,11.68 in outstanding gratuities owed to retired civil servants.

The Chairman of the Board, Senator Bala Adamu Kariya, made the disclosure at the ongoing ministerial press briefing in Bauchi, held at the State Secretariat.

Although Senator Kariya did not specify the total gratuity backlog, he noted that it exceeds N20 billion.

He stated that since the inception of the current Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led administration in 2019, a total of 4,273 people have retired, and 677 have died while in service, out of 4,948 files processed.

“The Board processes the files of civil servants due for retirement. We are the custodians of the processed files of all state civil servants who have retired,” the chairman stated.

Senator Adamu, however, said that in order to avoid further accumulation of pension and gratuity liabilities, the state government intends to commence the implementation of the proposed contributory pension scheme on June 30, 2021.

“As a sign of commitment, His Excellency, the Executive Governor, Sen. Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir, appointed a 20-member committee, including a staff member of Messrs Premium Pension Ltd for technical guidance under the chairmanship of Mr. Abdon Dalla Gin (Special Adviser on Civil Service Matters).”

“In line with the Terms of Reference to the Committee, a final report with a draft bill has been carefully produced, tapping from the 2004 Act, 2014 revised Act, and previous efforts of successive state administrations like the 2005 and 2017 draft bills, and was presented to His Excellency, the Executive Governor, Sen. Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir, as appropriate.”

He recalled that Governor Bala Mohammed had presented the report to the State Executive Council for consideration and approval, following which a draft bill was forwarded to the State House of Assembly for further legislative process in line with the laid down constitutional procedure.

“After gathering the necessary stakeholders’ input, the State House of Assembly then ratified the draft and returned the same to the Executive Governor for assent. Consequently, on August 5, 2022, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Bauchi State, assented to the bill enacted by the State House of Assembly.”

“It was named the Bauchi State and Local Government Contributory Pension Scheme. The law also provided for the establishment of the Bauchi State and Local Government Contributory Pension Commission.”

“The state governor approved the constitution of another high-powered committee under the chairmanship of Ibrahim Muhammad Kashim, the Secretary to the State Government, to facilitate the full implementation process of the new scheme in the state.”

Kariya further explained that prior to this development, the state government appointed two firms of Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs), who have now engaged stakeholders in a massive sensitization, advocacy, and enlightenment of the scheme across the state.

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Two-storey building collapses in Abuja

A two-storey residential building in Phase 2, site 2, Kubwa Abuja has collapsed

The building collapsed on Saturday morning at about 7:00am.

It was learnt that the building was formerly a hotel, Al-Hilal, but was converted to a residential apartment.

It was gathered that several people are currently trapped in the rubble.

As at time of filing this report, emergency responders and security personnel were at the scene.


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Police to enforce e-CMR compliance from July 29

The Nigeria Police Force have given all motor users 14 days to register their vehicles with the newly-introduced digitalized Central Motor Registration (e-CMR), which will end on July 29, to begin the enforcement of its compliance in order to checkmate the rate of vehicle-related crimes and other offenses.

In a press release, the Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, informed that the move is part of the efforts of the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Kayode Egbetokun, to enhance the security of lives and property and significantly boost the nation’s safety.

The release further stated that the exercise is an advanced form of helping security agencies, mostly the Police Force, in their investigations and operational activities to combat vehicle-related crimes, including terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, and other social vices.

It also stated that the introduction of the e-CMR digitalized system will help streamline the documentation and verification process for vehicle ownership and related transactions.

“Following the directives of the IGP, services such as change of ownership, change of license number, change of engine, and change of chassis/body would become seamless as the e-CMR system would ensure the validation of vehicle genuineness and ownership, enhancing the ability to track and recover stolen vehicles effectively, and preventing the purchase of stolen vehicles by innocent buyers.

“Prior to the enforcement itself, the IGP has ordered full publicity of the e-CMR and its enforcement to all members of the public, intimating them of the requirements, processes, and the enforcement procedures. Members of the public are urged to obtain the digitalized CMR certificate online at

‘For further inquiries, individuals can contact the CMR Command Centre at FHQ Abuja (08117777666, 09169892000) and FHQ Annex Lagos (08117777555, 09169891000). Technical support is also available at,” the release partly stated.

Following this new development, the Nigeria Police have enjoined members of the public to participate in the exercise by ensuring that all vehicle users comply with the new directive, maintaining that the initiative, which is in line with modern technology, remains a strategic approach to enhance public safety and national security.

ACP Adejobi further stated that the enforcement of the e-CMR is necessary to ensure a safer and more secure environment for vehicle ownership and to decimate the trend of vehicle theft by greatly reducing the possibility of selling stolen vehicles in the country.

“We therefore urge all vehicle owners and users to embrace and participate in this initiative promptly for optimum safety and security,” he stated.

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