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Dr. Olrunimbe Mamora, Minister of State for Health
The Russian vaccine for COVID-19 is not yet in Nigeria, the Federal Government has declared. Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora, Minister of Health, made the declration, saying that the Russian Ambassador and the Deputy Head of Mission, Alexey Shebarshin, merely visited the ministry and gave an update on the vaccine.
He, however, said when the vaccine eventually arrived, it would be tested by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), which is lawfully empowered to do so.
Said he: “We have not yet received the vaccine and, to the best of my knowledge, it is not yet ready. The Russian Ambassador and the Deputy Head of Mission only visited us to give us an update. Many other stakeholders joined the meeting virtually.
“When the vaccine is ready and we have received it, it will be subjected to the usual test by NAFDAC and other relevant authorities”.
An earlier report had insinuated that the Federal Government referred the Russian-made vaccine to NAFDAC and the Nigerian Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development for evaluation.
However, it was established that an aide-memoire of the vaccine was formally handed over to Nigeria on Friday.
The document reportedly provides details of the vaccine for Nigerian teams to study and get ready for further research, patronage and application.
A statement by the Director (Information, Media and Public Relations) in the Federal Ministry of Health, Olujimi Oyetomi, informed that the hand-over took place on Friday during a courtesy visit to the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, and Mamora, by the Russian Ambassador.
He added that other top management staff members of the ministry and Nigerian scientists, researchers and advisors also participated in an online meeting.
Offered the statement: “As expected, the issue on the front burner for discussion is the recently announced Russian-made vaccine against COVID-19. 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 aide-memoire, which explains the details for Nigerian teams to study and get ready for further researches, patronage and application.
“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”.