Russia has announced that it has approved its third vaccine against the coronavirus disease for domestic use.
Moscow was the first country to register a vaccine against Covid-19, Sputnik V, in August 2020, ahead of trials.
According to a report from Reuters, this was disclosed by the Russian Prime Minister, Mikhail Mishustin, while speaking on State TV, on Saturday, although large-scale clinical trials of the vaccine, labelled CoviVac and produced by the Chumakov Centre, is yet to commence.
Mishustin said, “Today, Russia is the only country to have already three vaccines against COVID-19.’’
Russia has already approved 2 Covid-19 vaccines, including the Sputnik V shot, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute and has been approved in over 2 dozen countries across the globe.
The preemptive approvals which were first greeted with scepticism, had some scientists from the West raise concerns, but vaccinations with those first two shots began on a mass scale in Russia only after trials were concluded and showed success.
Sputnik V was approved in August and late-stage trials began in September. Mass vaccination was launched in December after preliminary trial results showed the vaccine to be 91.4% effective.
The Russian Health Minister, Mikhail Murashko had revealed that over 2 million Russians have been vaccinated with at least the first dose of Sputnik V, since then.
The rollout of a second vaccine, developed by the Vector Institute in Novosibirsk, is beginning.
The CoviVac vaccine which was produced by state-run Chumak Centre based in Moscow has employed a different method from Sputnik and EpiVacCorona, using inactive virus.
Unlike the Sputnik V vaccine, which uses a modified harmless cold virus that tricks the body into producing antigens to help the immune system prepare for a coronavirus infection, the CoviVac vaccine is a whole-virion vaccine.
The Chumakov Centre’s director, Aidar Ishmukhametov, said on Saturday, “The vaccine we have developed… reflects the whole history of Russian, as well as global, vaccine science.’’
He said that the Chumakov Centre is expecting to produce around half a million doses per month on its platforms, Ishmukhametov said on Saturday.
Deputy Prime Minister Golikova also announced on Saturday that Russia will produce 88 million vaccine doses in the first half of this year, including 83 million Sputnik V doses.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that in a televised government meeting, the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, had announced the registration of its first Covid-19 vaccine in what was then seen as a step ahead of other vaccine development.
- The vaccine which was developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Institute in collaboration with the Russian Investment Fund was said to give effective protection against the deadly disease.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in October that the country had registered its second vaccine, EpiVacCorona, which health officials had said would enter mass production this month.
Covid:19 WHO says wealthy countries are undermining COVAX vaccine initiative
WHO DG has said that the deal between rich countries and vaccine manufacturers is undermining its COVAX initiative.
The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has said that the deal between high-income countries and manufacturers of Covid-19 vaccine are undermining its COVAX initiative by reducing the number of doses it can purchase.
This is as he pleads with rich countries to check before ordering additional Covid-19 vaccine shots for themselves whether that undermines efforts to get vaccine shots to poorer nations.
According to a report from Al Jazeera, this was disclosed by the WHO boss after talks with German President, Walter Steinmeier
Wealthy nations have snapped up several billion vaccine doses and some countries have ordered enough shots to vaccinate their populations more than once, while some countries in the developing world have little or none.
Tedros said that these actions by the rich countries have even led to the reduction of the amount that was allocated to COVAX, although he did not mention the names of the countries involved or provide other details.
He harped on the need for the rich countries to cooperate in respecting the deals that COVAX has with the manufacturers and make sure before they seek more vaccines that their requests do not undermine those deals.
Tedros said, “But I don’t think they’re asking that question.’’
Tedros, who has earlier warned that the world faces a catastrophic moral failure if Covid-19 vaccines are not distributed fairly, said he understands the political pressures leaders in high-income countries face.
He said, “If this virus is not defeated everywhere, we cannot defeat it globally. It will have a safe haven somewhere and can strike back.’’
He added that countries left behind in vaccinating could also become breeding grounds for new variants.
He also called for the stepping up of vaccine production because with increased production, there will be more vaccines available, then there is a better volume to share.
What you should know
- The WHO has kicked against vaccine nationalism, which they said will prolong the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. A successful global vaccination campaign is considered to be key to stemming the pandemic.
- This led to the launching of the WHO-backed COVAX initiative to ensure equitable distribution of the coronavirus vaccine across the globe, especially among the poorer countries.
- European nations have given financial support to the UN-backed COVAX scheme, which aims to get vaccines to the world’s most vulnerable people and are considering sharing some of their own doses, though they have not specified when.
- On Friday, leaders of the Group of Seven industrial powers said they would accelerate global vaccine development and deployment and support “affordable and equitable access to vaccines” and treatments for COVID-19.
They cited a collective $7.5bn from the G7 to UN-backed efforts.
COVID-19: 4 million doses of AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine to arrive in Nigeria soon
The NPHCDA has disclosed that 4 million out of the expected 16million doses of AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine will soon arrive in Nigeria.
The CEO of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaib has stated that the first batch of the 4 million AstraZeneca vaccines is set to arrive Nigeria.
This was disclosed in a social media statement by the FG on Monday evening.
“As of today, Purchase Orders have been raised by UNICEF Supply Division for the Astrazeneca vaccine. Under normal circumstances, with routine immunization vaccines, it takes 2 weeks from when the Purchase Order is raised to when we receive the vaccine in Nigeria,” Dr. Shuaib said.
He added that the process order would be fastened to ensure availability in a week.
“However, because this is an emergency situation, we have been informed by UNICEF that this process will be fast-tracked to potentially ensure the vaccines arrive Nigeria within 1 week. As soon as we receive confirmation on date of arrival, we’ll inform Nigerians.
“We have also been informed that 4 million out of the 16million doses of AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine will arrive in the first batch of supplies to the country,” he added.
What you should know
Recall It was reported earlier this month that the NPHCDA said 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.
- Fayemi had earlier revealed that about 80 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines will soon be made available in the country, to immunize 40% of the Nigerian population this year.
- The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, had earlier announced that the first batch of 15 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, which is from AstraZeneca under the COVAX programme, is expected to be available from February.
- This is coming after the African Union (AU)’s African Vaccines had allocated 42 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Nigeria.
- Also, the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, said the Nigerian government expected over 41 million vaccines from the African Union before the end of April, as it also expected to source vaccines from India and Russia.
- The Federal Government had earlier announced that Nigeria was about to receive 1.4 million doses of vaccines donated by MTN.
- The UK Government has revealed that the Global Vaccine Alliance (GAVI) had announced that Nigeria would be one of the first countries to receive 16 million free doses of Covid-19 vaccines through the COVAX Global Vaccines Facility.
- BUA Group revealed that it had purchased a million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines for Nigeria, with delivery to be made soon.
Lagos moves against false Covid-19 PCR test results, deploys verification platform
The Lagos State Government has frowned at the falsification of Covid-19 PCR test results, warning to prosecute anyone found to be involved.
The Lagos State Government has moved against the falsification of Covid-19 PCR test results as it has deployed a verification platform to validate the authenticity of COVID-19 PCR tests done within the Private Laboratory Consortium and all State Public laboratories for outbound flights.
This is as the state government stated that the platform can be accessed through an App and the use of USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data-codes).
This was disclosed through a public statement by the Lagos State Government and seen by Themoneymetrics.
The state government stated that the USSD option, which is available on all networks in Nigeria, can also be accessed outside of Nigeria as long as the mobile line is on a Nigerian Telecommunications Network. The USSD option can be accessed by dialling *35131*19# on the 9mobile network and *55500*19# on all other networks and following the onscreen prompts to verify results.
It said that the first 30,000 result verification will be free, courtesy of the Lagos State Government with subsequent verification expected to attract N50 per usage for the user/client.
The statement partly reads, ‘’The Lagos State COVID-19 Result Verification App can be downloaded through Google Store, Apple Store or directly through the internet, using the link https://appsenjoy.com/ZZXaP. It will utilise the laboratory reference number to verify the COVID-19 PCR test, validating the result real-time and passengers can download their result sheets, which can be shown to anyone requiring it.
‘’The App version can be used and accessed within and outside of Nigeria but unlike the USSD, does not require a Nigerian Telecommunications Network. It is available once it is downloaded and the internet is available. It is noteworthy to mention that verification through the App is free at all times.
‘’The process can be used by all clients who require the validation of COVID-19 PCR results, such as Airports, Airlines, Work-related processes and passengers themselves. The Lagos State Government would also be placing personnel at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport to assist in the verification process of the COVID-19 PCR results for all outbound passengers.’’
The Lagos State Government said that it continues to frown at the falsification of Covid-19 PCR test results, warning that anyone caught in this illegal practice will be prosecuted.
The State Government also said that it will continue to strengthen its response against this pandemic to protect the lives and livelihood of all Lagosians and residents.
What you should know
- The re-opening of the economy, and all borders including the airports, had coincided with a surge in the number of Covid-19 infections across the country.
- This has made it increasingly necessary for outbound passengers to take Covid-19 PCR tests before departing Nigeria as a prerequisite for travel to specific destinations. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous elements have taken advantage of the situation to enrich themselves by falsifying Covid-19 PCR results and selling them to passengers.
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