Nigeria is set to rollout new Yellow Cards that have improved security features, minister announced.

At the last Federal Executive Council meeting, the Council approved a memorandum from the ministry of health to introduce a new Yellow card that has advanced security features. Commenting on the reason behind the introduction of the new card, health minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole said the old Yellow Card could easily be gotten by anyone and it is not entirely reliable in knowing who has been vaccinated.

The “International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP)” (or “Yellow Card”) is mainly required for proof of vaccination when going to or from countries that are at risk for Yellow Fever. However it is also used for recording all travel immunizations. It is available from government hospitals and health ministries.

The current yellow cards will soon be phased out

The “Yellow Card” as it is commonly referred to, is a small yellow document designed to fit into a passport. When an individual gets an immunization, the health specialist will fill out and sign this card. The entry must be validated with an official stamp by the health specialist. It is approved by the World Health Organization as the official document verifying that proper procedures were followed in administering vaccinations for foreign travel and is used to demonstrate receipt of required vaccinations for entry into foreign countries.

About the only thing this is currently used for is checking for Yellow Fever vaccination when coming from an infected areas. Very rarely some border guards may also check for a Cholera vaccination in some third world countries.

“One of the challenges we had in the past with current yellow card is that it could be issued by anybody and those who did not get vaccination could also in fact get a card signed for them. With this new card, you cannot fake a yellow card,” Adewole said.

Some Nigerians holding the old Yellow Cards that will be phased out by the health ministry

Using a card reader, the minister said the health ministry can also document a cardholder’s vaccination status to confirm whether in fact an individual has been genuinely vaccinated or not. HealthNewsNG gathered that the existing cards will be phased out and holders will be guided on how to replace the current yellow cards with the new one. 

“As soon as we start the roll out we will let the Nigerian community know about the date of commencement, we will let them know what to do with the existing card they are holding and when we will phase out the old one,” the minister said.

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Paul is a freelance journalist, medical researcher and extensively published author. He holds a MSc degree in cell biology and genetics, and is a PhD candidate of the University of Ibadan

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