In keeping to her promise, Russia has begun mass deliveries of her newly discovered Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine to the world as the country handed over the vaccine to Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, on Friday in Abuja.
Russia had registered the Sputnik V adenoviral vector-based vaccine and it had been described as the world’s first despite it not having undergone large-scale trials to prove its safety and effectiveness.
Russian Federation Ambassador to Nigeria, Alexey Shebarshin, handed over the vaccine to officials of the Ministry of Health during the envoy’s courtesy visit to the ministry.
Shebarshin explained that countries such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Mexico, among others have expressed interest in the Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine.
The Ambassador charged Nigeria to put together a team to interface with his Embassy to drive the process of human trials not just for the Russian COVID-19 vaccine, but to explore further disease and health areas where the Russian Federation has expertise to manage with vaccines.
Shebarshin admitted that he’s a non-scientist, explaining that he’s in the 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.
Responding, Ehanire said Nigeria has been participating in series of knowledge exchange, contacting different research bodies and countries to find solutions to the COVID-19 challenge.
The minister admitted that Nigeria has contacted the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Nigeria for right of access immediately the Russian COVID-19 vaccine was announced.
Russian Envoy and ministry’s officials reached a consensus decision to immediately refer the vaccine to the necessary professional institutes and agencies of the Federal Ministry of Health beginning with the National Agency for Drug, Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the Nigeria Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (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 under 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.
Ehanire was supported by the Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, and other top management of the ministry and other Nigerian scientists, researchers and advisors, who participated in the meeting online.