Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) explained that the focus of the country is moving from making its own vaccines to getting the fundamental technology on how to make vaccines.
Dr. Osagie Ehanire, the Health Minister made this known during the Ministerial Press briefing (that happens twice a week) on coronavirus and other contagious sicknesses in the nation.
According to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), via the Finance Ministry, the country’s Federal Government has earmarked N10 billion for vaccine production in the country to combat Covid-19.
After the fund was forwarded to the Health Ministry, the Joint Committee arranged a meeting with the Health and Finance Ministers to get better clarity on the money.
About a year ago on 11th May 2021, Dr. Ehanire stated that the N10 billion the National Assembly approved for local manufacture of coronavirus vaccine was untouched while explaining why the country cannot start making its own vaccines.
On 21st April this year, the country’s President, Muhammadu Buhari told the Health Minister to present a report on the progress so far on the local manufacture of vaccines in the nation by 31st May 2022.
During the ministerial briefing, Dr. Ehanire stated the country is yet to utilize the 39.8 million jabs purchased by the government (which includes the J&J single-dose vaccine it got via the African Vaccine Acquisition Team)
According to the minister, “Nigeria has been using gifted jabs,” pointing out that the country has acquired valuable knowledge from the outbreak including the importance of focusing locally on medical stockpiles and other health needs.
“Therefore, there is diminished urge for the country to make its own vaccines since we still have leftovers from donations. There are still unused government purchases. The urgency at the moment is to have the technological know-how.
“Therefore, we have assembled specialists, including vaccine manufacturers, assets, and research capabilities to forge a path towards getting the technology ready for future pandemics.
According to Dr. Ehanire, the Technical Working Group (TWG) on the indigenous manufacture of vaccines will further the investigation and development. “What we know is that the vaccine will come in handy someday. There is also ongoing study in various nations to find vaccines and Nigeria wants to contribute to that study. To partake in it, we must own the requisite knowledge and technology and every other thing that is needed.”
Dr. Ehanire further explained that FMOH has sustained cooperation with investors for medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and vaccines as the country pursues self-sufficiency.