By Oludare Mayowa
Nigeria and other African countries are yet to make any booking for coronavirus vaccines from any of the global pharmaceutical companies, a chief executive of one of the global firms has said.
In an interview, the chief executive of who does not want his name in print said while the United State has paid $1.5 billion into the accounts of his parent company in anticipation of breakthrough for covid-19, no African countries have approached any of the firms to request for the vaccine in advance.
The US, The United Kingdom and the European Union were said to have made an advance payment to drug makers for Covid-19 for their citizens.
The US, for instance, is said to have paid in advance $1.5 billion into the GSK account for the delivery of covid-19 vaccine as soon as the company finalise clinical test and the drug is ready for human use.
Also, the EU is said to have paid about $400 million to the account of the global pharmaceutical company to book in advance for the vaccine to enable their citizens to get vaccinated as soon as the clinical trial and the company is ready to roll out production.
The chief executive said the GSK vaccine may not be ready until June next year, but Africans are not ready to receive the drug to help protect their citizens from the deadly disease.
“The implication is that while other nations will be getting the vaccine immediately the clinical trial and the production starts, Africa will be left behind on this,” the chief executive told Global Financial Digest.
He, however, said some of the drug makers are thinking of providing few of the vaccines to some critically affected Africa country whenever the drug is ready as part of their contributions to rid the world of the dreaded disease.
Coronavirus cases have reached over 10 million in African countries with Nigeria, South Africa accounting for the highest number of infected people.
Most African countries are currently going through economic downturn as a result of the impact of the disease on the economy.
READ ALSO: Nigeria’s Economy To Contract By 1.03% In Q2
The CEO said many of the countries in Africa are suffering the impact of the economic downturn brought about by the disease as both revenues from crude oil and tourism have been worst hit by the outbreak of the disease.
“Most of the country may not be able to priortise funding for covid-19 vaccine as a result of the impact of the economic downturn on their finance,” the drug firm CEO said.
Last month, the US government has agreed to pay almost $2 billion for 100 million doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
BioNTech, which is developing the drug with US pharma giant Pfizer, said in a statement that American people would receive the future vaccine “for free” in line with the Trump administration’s “commitment for free access for COVID-19 vaccines”.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has projected the nation’s economy to contract by 1.03 percent in the second quarter of the year and closed the year at -0.16 percent.
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) projection by the regulatory bank was milder than what the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) project for the country at the end of 2020.