Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Government on Thursday denied receiving the Russian COVID-19 vaccine from the country’s ambassador to Nigeria, Alexey Shebarshin.
Recalled that the government had announced last Friday that it had received samples of Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine from Russia’s Ambassador to Nigeria during his visit to the Ministry, minister of health, Osagie Ehanire.
But Minister of State for Health, Dr. Adeleke Mamora, at the Presidential Task Force COVID-19 said all the Ministry of Health got was a memoir, which is simply a diplomatic document informing Nigeria of what Russia is working on.
He further stated the Russian vaccine is still in the third phase of clinical trial and will still be evaluated for safety and efficacy by National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) before approved for Nigerians.
Mamora spoke during the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja.
He said: “Even when the vaccine is ready at all, it will still be subjected to our own processes here. That is why have NAFDAC and NIPRD.
“The vaccines will be analysed and checked for safety, and of course the issue of efficacy, because vaccines are things that you give mass application.
“So you we cannot afford to take chances – you need to check and establish the safety, and in so doing, you want to look at the various segments of the society – children, adults, the elderly and of course those with co-morbidities.
“As the last count, we had close to 230 vaccine candidates. This race for releasing vaccines has gone beyond the human race but the rat race.”