The federal government said it has taken steps to secure Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, as part of international policy regarding vaccine distribution.

The government also said it has taken steps to resolve the oxygen crisis that hit Nigeria’s national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It also announced the postponement of the National Sports Festival until April, due to the rising wave of infection.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this during yesterday’s Presidential Task Force, PTF, briefing on COVID-19 in Abuja: “On vaccines, Nigeria has kept abreast of global developments and supports WHO’s call for fair and equitable distribution of vaccines as COVID-19 poses a threat to humanity.

“We have joined two multilateral platforms for access to vaccines; the first is the COVAX facility that will provide free vaccines to members, including Nigeria, to cover 20% of our population. The expected first wave of 100,000 vaccines came from this facility.

“There has since been a change that Nigeria is now being offered 16 million doses of vaccine in the first half of the year. The other multilateral platform is the African Union platform, AVATT – the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, chaired by the president of South Africa, Mr. Ramaphosa.

AVATT has acquired 300 million doses of three types of vaccines offered to African countries based on population size so that no country is left behind. Nigeria joins this pan-African approach, which aims to ensure that we are safe and our neighbors are safe.

We will be offered over 42 million doses by AVATT. If all the planned vaccines are delivered, we estimate that we should have covered over 45% of the population.

“In addition to the proposed sources, Nigeria has had bilateral negotiations with Gamaleya of Russia for their Sputnik V vaccine, which they are willing to supply to Nigeria.

This vaccine has a 91% effectiveness rate. We are also in discussions with the High Commissioner of India about the Barhat Institute’s Covax vaccine. Both vaccine dossiers are currently under review by NAFDAC.”