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Russia pledges to supply Nigeria Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine

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The Gamaleya of Russia has expressed willingness to supply the Sputnik V COVID-19 Vaccine to Nigeria, as the Federal Government dialogues with the High Commissioner of India over the COVAX Vaccine of the Barhat Institute.

Both vaccines, dossiers are under evaluation at the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). The Federal Government explained that there was shortage of Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines, leading to the postponement of the National Sports Festival, which should have commenced this month to April 2021.

Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who disclosed this at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF) in Abuja, noted that the Federal Government had concluded negotiations with Gamaleya of Russia on the Sputnik V Vaccine, adding that it has 91 per cent efficacy.

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He said Nigeria was no longer expecting the first tranche of 100,000 Pfizer Vaccine from the COVAX facility, but had been offered 16 million doses of AstraZeneca Vaccine in the first half of the year.

“We subscribed to two multilateral vaccine access platforms, the first being the COVAX facility and the other being the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) headed by South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa.

“AVATT has acquired 300 million doses of three types of vaccines, which have been offered to African countries, based on population, such that no country is left behind. Nigeria subscribes to this pan-African approach that strives to ensure that we are safe. AVATT has offered over 42 million doses,” he said.

He urged Nigerians to disregard reports that Nigeria was disqualified from vaccine allocation, stressing that the Pfizer Vaccines had been reserved for countries with high burden, to which Nigeria does not belong.

He stressed that ​ increase in oxygen availability has begun with the repair of two plants at the National Hospital Abuja, through Federal Government and private sector intervention, which had ensured that large quantities of oxygen cylinders were delivered to a treatment centre as required.

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Chairman of PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, disclosed that 13 B117 variant strain of COVID-19 had been detected in Nigeria and six of them were detected from samples collected between November 2020 and January 2021 in the last one week.

Also, Executive Director, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, said the replacement of the initial 100,000 doses of the Pfizer Vaccines with the 16 million doses of the AstraZeneca Vaccines was a welcome development, as it would ensure wider reach of the population and was a better option using routine cold chain system.

“Nigeria is no longer expecting the 100,000 doses of the Pfizer/BIONtech Vaccine through the COVAX facility, but has been allocated about 16 million doses of the AstraZeneca Vaccine based on the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) epidemiological and equity assessment,” he added.

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