Efforts of the Buhari administration to combat the dreaded pandemic, Covid-19 received a boost on Friday as the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire received samples of Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine in Abuja.
Russia’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Alexey Shebarshin, handed over the samples to Ehanire during a visit to his ministry in Abuja.
Details of the visit were disclosed in a statement released by the director of information, Media and Public Relations, federal ministry of health, Olujimi Oyetomi.
Also present at the event were the Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora; top management of the Health Ministry and other Nigerian scientists.
The statement was titled, ‘Russian Federation Ambassador to Nigeria, H.E. Alexey L. Shebarshin on a courtesy visit to Nigeria’s Health Ministers, Russian-made COVID-19 Vaccine finally here”.
Oyetomi said the Russian envoy explained 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 of the vaccine for Nigerian teams to study and get ready for further researches, patronage and application.”
The spokesperson also quoted Enahire 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 the 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,” the statement concluded.
Recall that Fedredsnews had reported on August 11, 2020, Russian President Putin Tuesday announcement of a coronavirus vaccine, touting it as a “world-first”.
“A vaccine against coronavirus has been registered for the first time in the world this morning,” Putin said on state TV. “I know that it works quite effectively, it forms a stable immunity. I hope our foreign colleagues’ work will move as well, and a lot of products will appear in an international market that could be used”, he said at the time.
The World Health Organisation had subsequently said it would review the effectiveness of the vaccine.
Nigeria’s Covid-19 total infection, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) stands at 54,587 with 42,627 discharged and 1,048 deaths as of September 3, 2020.