Friday the Federal Government obtained samples of the COVID-19 vaccine from Russia.
During a visit to the ministry in Abuja, Russia’s ambassador to Nigeria, Alexey Shebarshin, delivered the samples to health minister Osagie Ehanire.
Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora; top management of the Ministry of Health, and other Nigerian scientists were also present at the gathering.
This was included in a statement signed by Olujimi Oyetomi, the ministry ‘s director of information, media , and public relations.
The statement was titled, ‘Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Nigeria, H.E. Alexey L. Shebarshin on courtesy visit to the Health Ministers of Nigeria, finally here with the Russian-made COVID-19 Vaccine.’
Earlier the PUNCH had announced that Russia ‘s president, Vladimir Putin, said his country approved a vaccine that provides “sustainable immunity” to the lethal coronavirus.
Subsequently the World Health Organisation had announced it would study the vaccine ‘s efficacy.
Ehanire also said on Friday that the vaccine will be “quickly forwarded” for analysis and potential confirmation to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Regulation, as well as to the Nigerian Center of Pharmaceutical Research and Development, among other agencies.
The minister had said that Nigeria collaborated with the WHO to distribute 2 billion doses of vaccines as soon as they were available.
According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, the need for a vaccine has become more pressing internationally and nationally with Nigeria reported more than 50,000 COVID-19 infections and over 1,000 related fatalities.
In the release, Oyetomi said the Russian envoy claimed that he was at the Ministry of Health to “formally hand over the Russian-made COVID-19 vaccine to Nigeria with a support memoir detailing the specifics for Nigerian teams to review and plan for further testing, patronage and implementation.”
Nigeria receives COVID-19 Cure from Russia
The spokesperson also cited the health minister as saying,
“Nigeria engaged in a number of exchanges of information and communications with numerous academic bodies and countries to find answers to the COVID-19 problem and promptly reported the Russian COVID-19 Vaccine to the Russian Federation Embassy in Nigeria for access rights.”
“The decision reached was to send the vaccine immediately to the appropriate technical institutes and agencies of the Federal Ministry of Health starting with NAFDAC, NIPRD, and to the Government for a team of scientists and advisors to work on potential procurement of the Russian vaccine to relieve the plight of Nigerians in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A ministerial committee is also scheduled to continue working with the Russian Federation Embassy in Nigeria on the vaccine, as well as other areas of concern outlined at the conference,” the statement concluded.