No Russian COVID-19 Vaccine In Nigeria Yet – Minister

Nigeria’s Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora, has debunked the rumours making the rounds that Russian vaccine for the dreaded coronavirus (COVID-19) is now in Nigeria.

The junior minister said 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.

He said, “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, said the handover took place on Friday during a courtesy visit to the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, and Mamora, by the Russian Ambassador.