The Nigerian government has said it will delay the local production of the COVID-19 vaccine due to the inability to procure the required technology for that.
In a statement, the Minister of Health Osagie Ehanire said although the fund approved by the National Assembly to support the local production of the vaccine was still intact, the country still had that major hindrance as regards the production.
The government, he said, continues to hold talks with a local vaccine firm to enhance a public-private partnership in producing the vaccine.
“Nigeria is a 49 percent 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,” Ehanire said.
According to him, the joint venture was earlier stalled because of the COVID-19 outbreak, when there was a lockdown.
“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,” the minister explained.
He added that the government would continue to work on getting that technology to both produce routine vaccines, and also COVID-19 vaccines.
So far, the Nigerian government has earmarked the sum of 10 billion naira (over 26.3 million U.S. dollars) to support COVID-19 vaccine production in the country.