The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has said that local production of COVID-19 vaccines cannot start now in Nigeria.
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 continue to fight vaccines nationalism.
He 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 Government, he said, was still in talking with local vaccine firm, Bio-Vaccine Nigeria Limited.
“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.
”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.”
Recall that, the Ministry of Finance released N10 billion to support COVID-19 vaccine production in the country.