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Over 1.6M Nigerians Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19 – NPHCDA

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COVID-19 Vaccine - Investors King

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), says 1,692,315 eligible Nigerian have received two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines.

The Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, disclosed this at the briefing of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 on Monday, in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that this progress was recorded in the six months since the country commenced the COVID-19 vaccination of its citizens.

“1,692,315 persons have received two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines, as approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).

“As of Monday evening, 4,052,756 eligible Nigerians have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccines.

“This is made up of 2,645,020 persons with the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine and 1,407,736 persons with the first dose of the Moderna vaccine,” Shuaib said.

According to him, “ a total of 1,692,315 eligible persons are fully vaccinated and we currently have a national average of 70.4 percent utilisation of the 2,000,040 doses of the Moderna vaccines we received.”

Shuaib said that the 36 states and the Federal Capital had been guided not to exceed their 50 percent utilization rates for the Moderna vaccines in order, to reserve the second doses for all those already vaccinated.

He noted that most states had reached the percentage and priority was now being focused on administering AstraZeneca vaccine as the first dose vaccine in all states of the federation.

Shuaib urged states yet to publish their vaccination sites to do so across the various media platforms – Newspapers, radio, TV, and social media, to enable people to locate their nearest vaccination site.

“The list of vaccination sites across the country is also available on the NPHCDA website: www.nphcda.gov.ng and eligible persons who are unable to register by themselves can go to any designated health facility where he/she will be assisted by our vaccination teams,” he said.

Shuaib noted that state governments were responsible for the protection of the vaccines and vaccination cards sent to them, warning that vaccines would no longer be allocated to states found condoning any acts of corruption in the process of vaccination.

“We have received reports of people trying to procure cards from health workers, these reports are being investigated and anyone found wanting would be prosecuted.

“It is important to emphasize that it is in the interest of public safety and collective well-being of Nigerians that the Federal Government has made available these vaccines free for all eligible persons,” Shuaib stated.

He reiterated that government would continue to work with stakeholders and partners, to ensure delivery of safe and efficacious COVID-19 vaccination in the country.

NAN recalled that Nigeria commenced COVID-19 vaccination on 5 March, 2021, having received approximately four million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines from COVAX, an initiative aimed at ensuring equitable distribution of vaccines globally.

The country recently launched the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccinations, after receiving another four million doses of Moderna vaccines from the U.S government.

The country also received another 177,600 doses of Johnson and Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccines from the African Union (AU).

On Aug. 17, Nigeria similarly took delivery of another 699,760 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines from the UK government.

Before the commencement of COVID-19 vaccination, the government had set an ambitious target of vaccinating 40 per cent of its over 200 million population before the end of 2021, and 70 per cent by the end of 2022. (NAN)

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Travel

Airline Stocks Tumble as Ryanair Cuts Summer Fare Forecast

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Ryanair’s announcement of a significant cut in summer fare expectations has sent ripples through the airline industry, causing stocks to fall sharply.

The no-frills airline reported a nearly 50% drop in profits for the quarter ending June 30, attributing the decline to lower passenger fares and frugal consumer behavior.

Ryanair’s profit before tax fell to €401 million, a stark contrast to the same period last year. This slump is primarily due to a 15% decrease in average passenger fares, as travelers continue to tighten their budgets amid ongoing economic uncertainties.

Chief Executive Michael O’Leary highlighted the shift in consumer behavior, noting that “fares are now moving materially lower than the prior year and pricing continues to deteriorate.”

The company’s previous forecast of stable fares has been revised, with expectations now set for a “materially lower” fare structure between July and September.

The announcement triggered a sell-off in airline stocks, with Ryanair’s share price plummeting by 17%.

Other airlines, including EasyJet and Wizz Air, also experienced declines, reflecting broader concerns about the industry’s financial health as customer spending contracts.

Experts are questioning whether the entire sector is facing a downturn, especially as consumers delay booking trips and opt for more budget-friendly options.

Despite the profit drop, Ryanair reported a slight increase in passenger numbers, which helped mitigate a more significant fall in overall revenue.

However, the airline emphasized that its summer performance heavily relies on last-minute bookings, particularly in August and September.

The trend of delayed bookings is partly due to the cost-of-living crisis, which continues to influence consumer spending habits.

This trend aligns with observations from other airlines like Jet2, which noted only modest price increases amid late bookings.

Ryanair’s struggles are compounded by external challenges such as air traffic control strikes and a global IT meltdown, which have led to delays and cancellations.

These issues have further dampened consumer confidence, potentially impacting last-minute booking numbers.

Moreover, Ryanair faces operational hurdles with aircraft deliveries. Boeing has warned that some 737 Max planes expected by next spring will be delayed until summer 2025, posing a threat to Ryanair’s capacity during peak travel periods.

The airline industry is grappling with the end of a post-pandemic boom in pricing, as evident from warnings by other carriers like Lufthansa and Air France-KLM.

As economic pressures mount, the sector must navigate a landscape of cautious consumer spending and logistical challenges.

Ryanair’s latest figures underscore the fragile nature of the current travel market, prompting airlines to reassess strategies to attract budget-conscious travelers while maintaining profitability.

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Max Air Flight Suffers Multiple Tyre Bursts, Passengers Safe

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Max Air

A Max Air flight carrying 119 passengers and six crew members from Yola to Abuja experienced a rare tyre malfunction during takeoff.

The Boeing 737, flight NGL1649, encountered an issue when four of its tyres burst, leading to an emergency halt on the runway.

The Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection at the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB), Bimbo Olawumi Oladeji, confirmed the incident.

She stated that as the aircraft began its takeoff roll, a loud bang was heard, identified as the bursting of the rear gear tyres.

Initially, two tyres burst, and while attempting to taxi off the runway, the remaining two tyres also burst, leaving the aircraft disabled.

Glory be to God, no injuries were reported among the passengers or crew, thanks to the quick response and professionalism of the flight team.

A go-team, led by NSIB Director General Alex Badeh, is set to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident to determine the cause of the malfunction.

This investigation aims to ensure the continued safety and reliability of air travel in the region.

Max Air has expressed gratitude for the cooperation and calmness of all passengers during the incident and assured the public of their commitment to maintaining high safety standards.

The airline is working closely with authorities to address any potential issues and prevent future occurrences.

As investigations proceed, the aviation community remains focused on learning from the event to enhance safety protocols and maintain passenger confidence in air travel across Nigeria.

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Nigerians Increasingly Reject Bribe Demands, Reports NBS

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Bribery

70% of Nigerians reportedly refused to pay bribes on at least one occasion in 2023, according to a report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The report, titled “Corruption in Nigeria: Patterns and Trends,” highlights the growing resistance to bribery among citizens.

The study found that 42% of Nigerians cited moral objections as their primary reason for refusing bribes.

Also, 23% were motivated by the pressures of the rising cost of living, while 21% had alternative ways to achieve their goals without resorting to corruption.

The report noted the highest bribery refusal rate in the North-West, where 76% of individuals resisted paying bribes.

All regions across the country recorded refusal rates exceeding 60%, indicating a nationwide trend towards rejecting corruption.

Public tolerance for bribery has also diminished, with only 23% of Nigerians considering bribery acceptable for expediting administrative processes, down from 29% in 2019.

Furthermore, fewer citizens reported facing negative consequences for refusing bribes, with figures dropping from 49% in 2019 to 38% in 2023.

This suggests a growing empowerment among Nigerians to challenge corrupt officials without fear of retaliation.

Despite these positive trends, the NBS report highlighted that over N700 billion was still paid in cash bribes to public officials in 2023.

Corruption remains the fourth most pressing issue in the country, following the cost of living, insecurity, and unemployment.

The report also underscored a decline in public confidence in the government’s anti-corruption efforts.

In 2019, more than half of Nigerians believed the government was effective in combating corruption, but by 2023, this confidence had fallen to less than a third.

The NBS findings offer a glimmer of hope for Nigeria’s fight against corruption, showcasing a public increasingly willing to stand up against bribery and demand accountability from their leaders.

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