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A 62-year-old German man has received 217 vaccinations within 29 months for the purpose of improving his immunity against COVID.

Pate: Nigeria Has Potential To Become Vaccine Hub

According to Prof. Muhammad Ali Pate, Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Nigeria has the potential to become a hub for local vaccine production and distribution in Africa.

Prof. Pate said this in Abuja while addressing journalists on the ‘Renewed Hope for Nigeria’s Health and Social Welfare’.

The minister cited Nigeria’s large population, skilled workforce, and existing pharmaceutical industry as factors that could support the development of a robust vaccine manufacturing sector.

“On Local vaccine manufacturing, as you are all aware, until I came back as a minister, I was going to work with GAVI, an international organisation created in 2000 to improve access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries. And GAVI also shapes vaccine markets.”

Prof. Pate added, “What is clear is that market shaping is a key Instrument. Nigeria has over 200 million people, and that’s a large market. We intend to pull that demand and hopefully use that to catalysed local manufacturing.”

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He also noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of local vaccine production and the need for African countries to be self-sufficient.

“If we do not produce more than 30 per cent of our pharmaceutical generics, let’s think of biological, like vaccines, that will take a little bit more time. There are already programmes that have been established for the last 15 to 16 years, and there have not yet produced a dose of vaccine here.”

However, he acknowledged that there were challenges to be overcome, such as lack of investment and infrastructure, regulatory barriers, and limited access to technology and expertise.

“Vaccine production is not something we will say we will do in two or three months. But, what we can assure Nigerians is that very soon, they will hear what we are doing in this arena so that over time, Nigeria can graduate from dependency on some medical commodities if not all medical commodities.”

Prof. Pate called for increased collaboration between governments, the private sector, and international partners to support the growth of local vaccine manufacturing in Nigeria and across Africa.

“We can produce some of what we need and get some of what we don’t have. Almost all countries demand some other countries too, so I can not say that we will produce 100 per cent, but what I am saying is that we will produce some of what we can, and we can also get from some other countries.”