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COVID-19: Russia produces first batch of its newly approved vaccine

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AstraZeneca suspends COVID-19 vaccine final stage trial over safety concerns, COVID-19: J&J starts vaccine trials on humans after success on monkeys

Russia announced on Saturday, August 15, 2020, that it has produced the first batch of its newly approved vaccine, Sputnik V, hours after the health ministry reported the start of its production.

The disclosure was made in a statement by the Russian Health Ministry and quoted by Russian news agencies.

This is coming some days after the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, announced the registration of the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine in what could be described as a step ahead of other vaccine developments.

The announcement is seen as a propaganda coup for the Russian government against the west amid a global race to develop vaccines against the coronavirus disease.

The announcement of the vaccine registration by Putin was met with caution from scientists and the World Health Organization (WHO), who said that it still needed a rigorous safety review. Some of the scientists fear that with this fast regulatory approval, Russia may be putting national prestige ahead of safety.

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Putin had said the vaccine was safe and that one of his own daughters had been inoculated, although the final stage testing involving over 2,000 people just started this week. Such trials are considered very important before a vaccine can secure regulatory approval.

Russia has said the vaccine which is the first for the coronavirus disease to go into production, will be rolled out by the end of August.

The Gamaleya Research Institute, which developed the vaccine in collaboration with the Russian Defence Ministry, said that Russia would be producing about 5 million doses a month by December or January.

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Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

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Coronavirus

Covid-19: Buhari approves N6.45 billion to set up 38 oxygen production plants

President Buhari has approved the sum of N6.45 billion for the set-up of 38 oxygen production plants across the country.

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President Muhammadu Buhari has announced his approval of N6.45 billion for the set-up of 38 oxygen production plants across the country, in a bid to contain the second wave of Covid-19.

The President disclosed this in a statement on Thursday evening after the first National Economic Council meeting of the year presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, with State Governors, Federal Capital Territory Minister, Central Bank Governor, and other senior government officials in attendance.

READ: Covid-19: FG directs universities to suspend academic activities till further notice

“As part of efforts to contain the second wave of Covid-19, we’re setting up new oxygen production plants in 38 locations across Nigeria—to enhance the management of patients in need of oxygen.

“I have equally approved funding for the rehabilitation of oxygen plants in 5 hospitals,” Buhari said.

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The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed said the President said the fund’s release was necessitated by the rising cases of Covid-19 in the country with patients needing oxygen.

READ: Toyota suspends operations in China over Coronavirus outbreak 

What you should know 

  • Recall Nairametrics reported that the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, warned that the rising second wave of the pandemic in Lagos had seen the demand for oxygen rise 5 times from 70 six-liter cylinders per day to 350 six-liter cylinders at Yaba Mainland Hospital alone.
  • He added that the state government had the decentralized provision of oxygen and other services needed for Covid-19 patients, citing the provision of oxygen kiosks.

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President Biden directs international air travelers must quarantine upon arrival

President Joe Biden has directed international air travellers to quarantine upon arrival in the United States.

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The United States President Joe Biden has issued an executive order on Thursday that makes it mandatory for international air travellers to quarantine upon arrival in the US.

Similarly, the executive order also includes a directive that all interstate travellers in the US will be expected to wear a face mask. This travel order applies to airports and planes, trains, ferries, intercity buses and public transportation, but grants them the ability to issue exemptions.

READ: Here is reason Turkish Airlines was allowed to land in Abuja 

What the US President is saying in the executive order

According to a report from Reuters, President Biden’s order says, ‘‘To the extent, feasible air travellers must comply with applicable U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines concerning international travel ‘including recommended periods of self-quarantine.

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However, the executive order does not explain how it will be enforced as the implementation still remains quite hazy.

READ: A Joe Biden presidency and its impact on Nigeria’s oil

The order also directs US agencies to engage with Canada and Mexico on public health protocols for land ports of entry including implementing CDC guidelines. Almost all non-essential travel at US land borders with Canada and Mexico has been suspended till February 21.

The CDC recommends a 7-day quarantine for people arriving in the United States from nearly all countries.

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READ: Biden reverses US immigration ban on Nigeria, others

Biden is directing agencies to reconsider international contact tracing requirements for U.S.-bound passengers, which was abandoned by the Trump White House, as well as the possibility of follow-up Covid-19 testing for travellers after they arrive in the United States.

In addition, the US President has also directed that all travellers including US citizens, will be required to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test before entering the country from abroad in an order that underscores the CDC policy announced last week.

READ: Air travellers across Nigerian Airports hit 8.5 million in 6-month

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What you should know

  • It can be recalled that the Trump administration had resisted calls for the enforcement of a mask-wearing requirement.
  • The Biden administration has also announced that it would reimpose coronavirus-related ban on most non-U.S. citizens arriving from European Union, Brazil, the United Kingdom.
  • This follows the lifting of the restrictions by former US President, Donald Trump through an executive order on Monday.

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Coronavirus

FG to take delivery of first set of Covid-19 vaccines in February

The FG has announced that the country expects to take delivery of its first set of Covid-19 vaccine doses in February.

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Covid-19: First world nations oppose waiving intellectual rights for vaccine development

The Federal Government has announced that the country expects to take delivery of its first set of Covid-19 vaccine doses in February, with health workers, vulnerable people and top government officials to be given priority.

These vaccines are expected to be procured through the Covax initiative which is backed by the World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation.

According to a report from Bloomberg, this disclosure was made in an interview by the Executive Director/Chief Executive of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib, who said that as many as 100,000 doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, would be purchased.

What the Head of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency is saying

Shuaib said that the first batch of the vaccines,  which is enough for a maximum of 50,000 people, equivalent to about 0.00025% of Nigeria’s population, would be allocated to health-care professionals working in Covid-19 isolation centres and those supporting them, as well as the country’s senior political leaders.

He said, “We are waiting for final confirmation from Covax on when the first doses will arrive. A most recent indication is they’re expected in February.”

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What you should know

  • It can be recalled that the Federal Government, had initially announced that it was expecting the first set of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines to be available at the end of January through the Covax initiative.
  • The Minister of State for Health, Olurunnimbe Mamora, had also said that the country was yet to purchase any Covid-19 vaccine as the country was still assessing the prices of different shots, their availability and the logistics required for a nationwide roll-out.
  • Shuaib revealed that the Federal Government had acquired 3 ultra-cold freezers to keep the Pfizer vaccines at the required temperature. He said that in the longer term, the government planned to invest in vaccines that were easier to store, such as those created by AstraZeneca Plc, and the University of Oxford.
  • Nigeria, with a population of more than 200 million people, plans to vaccinate about 70% of its population in the long run and is working on other options, besides Covax, for supplies.

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