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COVID-19: India will be very happy to supply vaccine to Nigeria, says envoy

The Periscope reporter

Abhay Thakur, Indian high commissioner to Nigeria, says his country will be “very happy” to supply its COVID-19 vaccine to Nigeria after it is rolled out within the next seven days.

He stated this at the commemoration of the 16th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas convention, also known as the Indian diaspora day, held in Abuja on Saturday.

Thakur said the supply of COVID-19 vaccine doses to Nigeria could be an “important area of collaboration” between the two countries.

“We will be rolling out next week as the vaccines are already announced. So, we will be quite keen to apply for the necessary registration with the regulatory authorities of Nigeria,” NAN quoted him to have said.

“And we will be very happy to supply, on either concessional terms, or any other needs that may be projected by the government of Nigeria.

“In fact, we will like to go out and engage the external world, particularly because we have performed well not only during the COVID period, but in earlier pandemics and contributions to anti-AIDS drugs for Africa.

“We will be ready to collaborate when the registration process, as may be required, is completed, and I am sure this will be an important area of collaboration between our two countries.

“We will have to discuss this with the government of Nigeria. Let it be registered first, and we will have to get the approval process.”

On January 3, Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, announced the approval of two COVID-19 vaccines produced by Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech.

“A decisive turning point to strengthen a spirited fight! DCGI granting approval to vaccines of @SerumInstIndia and @BharatBiotech accelerates the road to a healthier and COVID-free nation. Congratulations India. Congratulations to our hardworking scientists and innovators,” he had posted in a tweet.

Some scientists had, however, expressed concern about the “rushed” approval of the vaccines, especially Covaxin, produced by Bharat Biotech — the phase 3 trial test results were said to have not been received at the time of approval.

Vineeta Bal, an immunologist at India’s National Institute of Immunology, had described the approval of a vaccine without phase 3 data as “unconscionable”.

But at a media conference, V.G. Somani, drugs controller-general of India, said even though testing had not been completed on Covaxin, he was approving it as an “abundant precaution”.

He said both vaccines were produced for restricted use only, and that the manufacturers would continue with clinical trials

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