Despite the release of N10 billion to support the production of the COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria, the country’s health minister Osagie Ehanire says local manufacture cannot start now.
Mr Ehanire made this known in Abuja while explaining why local production of COVID-19 vaccines cannot start in the country at the moment as the world continues to fight “vaccines nationalism.”
He attributed the delay to the government’s inability to procure the required technology for production. The minister said the N10 billion earmarked by the National Assembly for that purpose was intact.
The federal government, he said, was still discussing with local vaccine firm, Bio-Vaccine Nigeria Limited.
Mr Ehanire further explained, “Nigeria is a 49 per cent shareholder in a company called Bio-Vaccine Nigeria Limited, and 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.
”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.”