Nigeria, Russia Sign MoU on COVID-19 Vaccine

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•156 New Cases recorded

By Onyebuchi Ezigbo

THISDAY has confirmed that Russia has not supplied the COVID-19 vaccine it developed to Nigeria, contrary to reports that emanated yesterday. Rather, what happened was the signing of a memorandum of Understanding by Nigeria with Russia, which will give the country access to the developed vaccine as soon as it is available for export.

A source at the meeting said it was decided that as soon as the vaccine is sent to Nigeria, it would be forwarded to the National Agency for Drug and Food Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Nigeria Institute for Pharmaceutical Development (NIPRD) for evaluation.

In a related development, Nigeria recorded156 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, taking the number of confirmed cases to 54,743 with 42,816 discharged and 1051 deaths.
Health Minister, Dr. Osagie Ehanire signed the vaccine MoU with the Russian Federation’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Alexey. Shebarshin.

Ehanire said a ministerial team would 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 had with him at the MoU signing, the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora, top management staff of the Health Ministry and other Nigerian scientists, researchers who participated at a virtual meeting.

A statement issued by the Director, Information, Media and Public Relations, Mr. Olujimi Oyetomi, said the meeting between the minister and the Russian team centred on the Russian-made Vaccine against COVID-19.

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.

Shebarshin said that countries such as U.A.E, Saudi Arabia, Mexico 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 also to explore further disease and health areas where the Russian Federation has expertise to manage with vaccines.