In a bid to boost Nigeria’s vaccine production capacity, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the process of indigenization of vaccine production in Nigeria.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, at the end of the Council’s meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday in Abuja, according to NAN.
The event of the covid-19 pandemic and the rush to get vaccines has seen a new boost around the continent to bring vaccine production locally and drop barriers of entry to the sector.
What the minister is saying
Ehanire stated that the Council considered a memorandum from the Ministry of Health which has to do with the first stage in indigenising vaccine production in Nigeria, the standard programme on immunization.
The minister said, “As you know, the government has a joint venture agreement and formed the company called Bio Vaccine Nigeria Limited, which is to start producing vaccines domestically.
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“Now, they are sourcing for international partners, who will join them and give them the technology transfer that they require.
“And after going to various countries, South Africa, Indonesia, they settled with a Serum Institute of India, which will now be the technical partner to support them in setting up the vaccine production plant in Nigeria.
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“But of course, the Serum Institute of India is you have engaged the largest vaccine producer in the world, and also has vaccines that are approved by World Health Organization.”
He added that Serum Institute of India will join hands with Bio Vaccine Nigeria, to build their manufacturing plant in Nigeria, with a plant located in Ogun State, with the Nigerian company having 15% of the market share.
“So, who will buy it? So, government now has approved 15% of the vaccines that UNICEF normally supplies us for bio vaccine to supply through contract manufacturing, Serum Institute of India.
”And with this, Serum Institute of India will now be comfortable enough to come and join Bio Vaccine of Nigeria, in building their manufacturing plant here in Ota, Nigeria.
“So, that arrangement has now been approved by the Federal Executive Council for Bio Vaccine Nigeria to have 15 per cent of the market share.
”It will be used for contract manufacturing of those vaccines as an initial step over the next few years when the plant in Nigeria starts to work.
“So, that was the approval that the council gave today,” he said.
What you should know
Nairametrics reported recently that the Federal Government and the Serum Institute of India have announced a partnership in producing vaccines locally to advance vaccine equity in Nigeria, which would be a launchpad towards vaccine self-sufficiency in Nigeria.
Earlier this year, the World Health Organisation announced that Nigeria’s Biovaccines Nigeria Limited (BVNL) and 14 other manufacturers in Africa will receive support from the mRNA technology transfer programme.
BVNL is a joint venture between the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), and May & Baker Nigeria Plc (MBN), as Special Purpose Vehicle for vaccine production, with the FG owning 49%.