Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Honourable Minister for Health

Why Nigeria can’t start manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines now ─Minister

*The Federal Government discloses it is discussing with an indigenous vaccine firm on production, assuring that N10billion the National Assembly earmarked for this purpose remains intact

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Based on the governmental authorities’ inability to procure the required technology for the production, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Honourable Minister for Health, has said that local production of COVID-19 vaccines cannot commence in Nigeria for now.

The Minister stated this while explaining the reasons local production of COVID-19 vaccines cannot start in the country at the moment as the global world continue to fight vaccine nationalism.

It was gathered Dr. Ehanire emphatically attributed the delay to government’s inability to procure the required technology for the production.

The minister said that the N10 billion earmarked by the National Assembly for that purpose is intact.

The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning has released N10 billion to support COVID-19 vaccine production in the country, according to report.

The Federal Government, Ehanire said, is still in discussion with a local vaccine firm, Bio-Vaccine Nigeria Limited.

The Minister stated: “Nigeria is a 49 percent shareholder in a company called Bio-Vaccine Nigeria Limited.

“The bio-vaccine is a revival of the former vaccine plants that the Federal Government used to have, in which the private sector was invited to join and form a special purpose vehicle – a company called Bio-Vaccine.

“Now the joint venture was stalled because of the COVID-19 outbreak – when there was a lockdown and when nothing could move.”

Ehanire further said: “So there is a lot of delay by the company in getting themselves on their feet.

“The aspiration to produce vaccines has not been fulfilled. It is not that it is abandoned.

“We are working on it and I have spoken with one of the members of the board of management of the bio-vaccine and we are working on getting that technology to both produce routine vaccines and also COVID-19 vaccines under licence and importation of the technology and partnership for it.”

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