Why Nigeria can’t produce Covid-19 Vaccine locally now~NPHCDA boss
Infrastructural neglect over the decades and the inability of the country to upgrade its Yaba Laboratory are major hindrances to the production of the Coronavirus vaccines locally.
According to the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) Faisal Shuaib, Nigeria used to produce Yellow Fever vacinnes locally in the past.
“There are questions around why we are not producing the COVID-19 vaccines in Nigeria.
“I want to just put on record that the process of producing a vaccine is very complex and complicated.
“You don’t just go to a shelf and pick up a vaccine. So, it requires massive investments that have not been done for many decades.
“In the past, in the 1960s, we used to make Yellow Fever vaccines in this country. In the ’90s, we took a decision to change our analogue ways of making the yellow fever vaccines into the more recent technology.
“However, that transfer of technology never happened and that is why we did not continue to make Yellow Fever vaccines. “Perhaps, if we had continued making yellow fever vaccines in Yaba Laboratory in Lagos, it may have been easier for us to continue and make other vaccines before now.
“So, there is a genuine effort by this administration to restart the process of vaccine production which is why the Federal Government went into a hint venture agreement with Bio-Vaccines through May and Baker.
“It takes usually 10 to 15 years for you to be able to start producing the vaccines. It takes a very long and complicated process.”
He said Nigeria hopes to cover 70 percent of its population when it gets the vaccines, saying while 20 percent of the vaccines was a donation from the COVAXX facility, Nigeria would have to source for funds to pay for the remaining 50 percent.
Shuaib expressed optimism that Nigeria would never get to the point where it had to force people to take the vaccines, saying his agency was working with religious leaders and the media to sensitise the public on the nature of the vaccines.