Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Russia has begun moves to convince Nigeria to accept its recently developed vaccine against COVID-19, which crippled global socio-economic activities since the beginning of 2020.
A statement by the Director, Information, Media and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Health, Olujimi Oyetomi, indicated that Russian Ambassador to Nigeria, Alexey Shebarshin, alongside senior Embassy officials presented a sample of the vaccine to the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, in Abuja, yesterday. The vaccine sample was accompanied by an “aide memoir” which is the expected guide for Nigerian teams to study and get ready for further researches, patronage and application. Shebarshin informed the minister that developed countries with sophisticated health care system, notably, United Arab Emirate (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Mexico and several others have indicated interest in the vaccine.
“To this end, I enjoin Nigeria to puts together a team to interface with our 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,” he said.
The minister, who received the delegation alongside the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunimbe Mamora, and other senior officials of the ministry, thanked the Embassy officials for the visit and assured them that action will be taken soon. Both parties, however, reached a consensus to quickly refer the vaccine to relevant professional institutes and agencies of the Federal Ministry of Health, beginning with NAFDAC, NIPRD, and 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.