A top government official has revealed that Russia could make available a vaccine for the treatment of the coronavirus disease as early as September. This announcement is coming after Russia had denied that hackers working for the country’s intelligence agency tried to steal sensitive data from researchers in the UK, US and Canada.
The head of the Russian wealth fund, while stating that a deal has been agreed with AstraZeneca to manufacture a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the pharmaceutical giant and Oxford University, explained that there was no need for Russia to steal vaccine data.
According to the Chief Executive of government-backed Russia Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Kirill Dmitriev, ‘’Russia may be one of the first to produce a vaccine against the backdrop of the billions that are being invested in the U.S. and all the pharma companies working on it. It’s a little bit of a shocking story.” The RDIF is financing one of the country’s efforts to develop a vaccine.’’
The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has made finding a vaccine a top priority as the country has recorded more than 750,000 COVID-19 cases. This makes it the fourth-most affected country in the world.
The approach that is being employed by Russia in the race to be the first country to develop a vaccine against COVID-19 would be ignored in other countries. Moscow claims that it will know in just 3 months of trials if its leading candidate works.
Dmitriev’s comments is coming against the backdrop of accusations from U.K., U.S. and Canada, that hackers working with the group APT29, part of Russian military intelligence, had used malware to try to seize vaccine research.
The RDIF boss pointed out that Russia had no need to steal information from rival vaccine developers because it had already signed a deal with AstraZeneca Plc to manufacture the University of Oxford’s Covid-19 vaccine at R-Pharm, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in Russia. R-Pharma is an RDIF portfolio company.
He said AstraZeneca is transferring the entire technological process and all ingredients for the full reproduction of the vaccine in Russia.
He said, ‘’Everything that is needed to produce the British vaccine has already been transferred to R-Pharm. AstraZeneca has already signed commitments to transfer all production of the British vaccine to R-Pharm.“
Dmitriev had said that Russia’s acquisition of the British developed vaccine was designed to complement and not replace its own home-grown vaccine, that is the one that Moscow is focused on developing. Their home-grown vaccine is set for regulatory approval by next month and will be administered to a large swath of the Russian population.
AstraZeneca did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It is not clear if they would transfer all the technology needed for Russia to produce the vaccine or if the agreement involves the British pharma giant sending the vaccine seed stock to manufacturers needed to start off production.
Some western countries are not convinced that Russia has the expertise to produce its own vaccine by September.
A pharmaceutical analyst at the research firm GlobalData, Peter Shapiro while sounding cautious said, ‘’We don’t think that’s realistic. Russia like other countries could approve the vaccine for political reasons. The regulatory hurdles in Russia are low.”
He also said that it is not likely that such a vaccine, if approved by Russia, would be accepted by the western countries. He also said that Russia does not have a history of innovative vaccines that can be approved in major markets like the US, Japan and Western Europe
FG launches strategy for introduction of Covid-19 vaccine
The FG has launched a strategy for the phased and equitable introduction of the Covid-19 vaccine across the country.
The Federal Government has launched a strategy for the introduction of the Covid-19 vaccine in a phased and equitable manner across the country.
The strategy code-named, “T.E.A.C.H”, was initiated by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH).
According to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, during the inauguration said the launch of T.E.A.C.H and Electronic Management of Immunization Data (EMID) will ensure the smooth rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination campaign across the country.
What the Minister of Health is saying
Ehanire stated, “Our goal is to introduce COVID-19 vaccine in a phased and equitable manner, based on the advice of the WHO and the experience we observe other countries to have made, and ultimately vaccinating all eligible Nigerians within the next two years, to ensure herd immunity.
“We in Nigeria finally have the privilege of joining other countries to start the vaccination, which will prioritise, first those people most at risk of infection due to their exposure in the line of duty.
”Vaccination with safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is a critical part of the country’s strategy to counter the COVID-19 pandemic and the stop transmission of the virus. No private hospital or organisation has experience in handling this type of vaccine than the NPHCDA,” he said.
The minister also said that vaccines that were not approved by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) would be determined as dangerous and would be seized by the Nigeria Customs Services.
The minister also noted that in less than 24 hours, the first batch of AstraZeneca vaccines would arrive the country from the COVAX Facility and would be deployed.
On his own part, the Director-General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said a lot of work had been done to reduce the casualty of Covid-19 in the country’s population.
Ihekweazu, who was represented by Head of Special Projects and Partnerships at NCDC, Dr Priscilla Ibekwe said that a sister agency, the NPHCDA, was prepared to lead the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines in the country and NCDC would collaborate with them to ensure a successful campaign.
The Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, in his introduction of the T.E.A.C.H Strategy, said it was an Indigenous approach to roll out the Covid-19 vaccine in the country.
Shuaib said that the Country has provided an e-registration link to enable Nigerians to register for the Covid-19 vaccines themselves, to obtain their pre-vaccination numbers and scheduled date
He said that the first phase of the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine in the country would target front-line health workers, Covid-19 rapid response teams, laboratory network, petrol station workers and strategic leaders.
According to him, How COVID-19 will be rolled out, Phase 1- healthcare workers, security agents, first responders, petrol station workers, laboratory workers, and strategic political leadership.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that the Federal Government had announced that Nigeria would receive its first batch of 4 million AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine from the COVAX initiative on Tuesday, March 2, 2021.
- The COVAX Facility which is co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the WHO and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), with UNICEF as a key implementing partner, is a global scheme to procure and equitably distribute vaccines for free, especially among poorer countries, as the world moves to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
How to register for Covid-19 vaccination in Nigeria
The NPHCDA has announced guidelines to register for COVID-19 vaccinations.
The National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, has released guidelines on registering for Covid-19 vaccination in Nigeria.
The guidelines were announced Monday morning in a social media post and they are as follows:
Step 1: Visit https://nphcda.gov.ng/
Step 2: Click on ” covid-19 vaccination e-registration”
- In the Registration Form for COVID-19 Vaccination you are to fill in; your full names, phone number, email address, date of birth, sex, the type of National ID you have, a residential address which states, the LGA of residence, ward of residence and preferred vaccination site.
- You are meant to also select your preferred vaccination date and time slot, which ends with a photo update.
After doing the above steps, you will receive a message saying:
“Registration Completed! …Your Vaccination ID is:
Your data is successfully received.
Thank you for taking time to fill the form, you will receive an SMS and email shortly containing your Vaccination No. and other instructions.”
What you should know
- The Federal Government confirmed that the first tranche of Covid-19 vaccines will arrive in Nigeria on Tuesday, March 2, 2021.
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