Nigeria receives Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine, to be validated by NAFDAC, others

Nigeria's Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, at the meeting with Russian Ambassador to Nigeria, Alexey L. Shebarshin, expressed Nigeria's interest for Russian's COVID-19 vaccine

The Nigerian government has received samples of Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine, which was delivered by Russia’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Alexey Shebarshin, on Friday.

Shebarshin presented samples of the vaccine to the Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, during a visit to the ministry in Abuja.

The country’s Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora; top management of the Health Ministry and other Nigerian scientists, we’re also present at the event.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the ministry’s Director of Information, Media, and Public Relations, Olujimi Oyetomi, entitled: “Russian Federation Ambassador to Nigeria, H.E. Alexey L. Shebarshin on courtesy visit to Nigeria’s Health Ministers, Russian-made COVID-19 Vaccine finally here.”

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Earlier before now, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, had approved the Russian-made vaccine, which he said offered “sustainable immunity” against the lethal coronavirus, but its effectiveness, the World Health Organisation had said it would review.

Similarly, after taken delivery of the vaccine, Ehanire, said the it would be “quickly referred” to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) as well as the Nigeria Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development, among other agencies, for review and possible validation.

Also, the minister had mentioned that Nigeria was working with the WHO for the allocation of two billion vaccine doses as soon as they are available.

There has been an urgent global need for a vaccine for coronavirus infection affecting over 24 million people globally, and had killed over 870 thousand of this victims worldwide.

In Nigeria, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said the country has recorded over 50,000 COVID-19 infections plus over 1,000 associated fatalities.

Making further disclosure via the statement, Oyetomi, added that, the Russian envoy said he was at the Health Ministry “to formally hand over the Russian-made Vaccine against COVID-19 to Nigeria with an aide memoir which explains the details for Nigerian teams to study and get ready for further researches, patronage and application.”

The Minister of Health was further quoted in the statement as saying: “Nigeria has been participating in series of knowledge exchange and contacts with different research bodies and countries to find solutions to the COVID-19 challenge and had contacted the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Nigeria for right of access immediately the Russian COVID-19 vaccine was announced.”

“The consensus of decision reached was to quickly refer the vaccine to the necessary professional institutes and agencies of the Federal Ministry of Health beginning with NAFDAC, NIPRD, and for a team of scientists and advisors to the ministry to get to work on possible patronage of the Russian vaccine to alleviate the plight of Nigerians amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A Ministerial Team is also expected to be raised to continue further engagement with the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Nigeria on the vaccine as well as other areas of interests highlighted at the meeting.”