Moses EMORINKEN, Abuja
THE Federal Government is set to receive the sample of COVID-19 vaccine from Russia.
The Russian Ambassador to Nigeria, H.E. Alexey L. Shebarshin, on Friday, handed over an aide memoir to enable the Nigerian team to study and get ready for further research, patronage and application.
The Russian-made COVID-19 vaccine is still in the custody of the Russian Federation’s Embassy in Nigeria.
The ministry stated that when the sample vaccine is received, it would be forwarded to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), for further analysis, investigation and possible patronage.
The Director of Information, Media and Public Relations of the Federal Ministry of Health, Olujimi Oyetomi, made this known in a statement in Abuja.
The statement said, “The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, supported by the Honourable Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora, and other top management of the Health Ministry and other Nigerian Scientists, Researchers and Advisors (who participated in the meeting online) played host to the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Nigeria, H.E. Alexey L. Shebarshin today, Friday, 4th September, 2020.
“As expected, the issue on the front burner for discussion is the recently announced Russian-made Vaccine against COVID-19.
“What was handed over was an aide memoir to enable the Nigerian team to study and get ready for further research, patronage and application.
“The Russian-made COVID-19, being still in the custody of the Russian Federation’s Embassy in Nigeria, we have been corrected, to see it as still being with the Russians and not with the Nigerian health authorities.
“H.E. Alexey L. Shebarshin, who admitted that he is a non-scientist, said he was in the Federal Ministry of Health 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 statement added, “The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, stated that 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 has contacted the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Nigeria for right of access immediately the Russian COVID-19 Vaccine was announced.
“H.E. Alexey L. Shebarshin, who explained further that countries such as U.A.E, S/Arabia, Mexico etc., have expressed interest in the Russian COVID-19 Vaccine and requested that Nigeria puts 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.
“At the courtesy call event were Health care experts/Directors of the Federal Ministry of Health like Dr. Olowu of the PPP Department; Dr. Adebimpe Adebiyi, mni of the Hospital Services, Department; Mrs. Ajayi of the Food and Drugs Department; Dr. Faisal Shuaib of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPCHDA) supported by other ministry’s advisors like Professor Oyewale Tomori, who is the Chair of the Board of Bio-Vaccine as well as the Ministerial Advisory Committee; Professor Nasidi Abdusalami, who represented the Russian-trained Nigerian Scientists; Professor Salako, the Director-General of the Nigeria Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) and some others.
“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 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.”