Ehanire, University Teaching Hospitals Amendment Bill
Dr. Osagie Ehanire, the Minister of Health.

Vaccines: Federal Government Commences Local Manufacturing



Yesterday, in Abuja, the Federal Government had kick-started its plan to locally manufacture human vaccines, with the first meeting of the Inter Ministerial Steering Committee and Technical Working Group on Local Vaccine Manufacturing.

In his speech, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, the Minister of Health, stated that: “It is my honour to address everyone at this important event, we have been striving for – the inauguration of the Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee (IMSC) and Technical Working Group (TWG) – on domestic human vaccine manufacturing, in line with the Nigeria Vaccine Policy (NVP).”

According to him, local and international experts who work in vaccine research and development, had developed the policy and administration under the leadership and guidance of the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), with regards to the recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Dr. Ehanire gave this appeal at a time when the global community is facing the urgent need to develop a vaccine to combat the pandemic.

He said that the national vaccine policy provides for there to be a local production of human vaccines to ensure self-sufficiency, “Vaccine nationalism that reserves all globally, produces vaccines only for technologically advanced, high income countries and poses threat to national and health security architecture of Nigeria and most African countries, prompting the Federal Government to raise priority for acquisition and institutionalisation of capacity for domestic vaccine manufacturing, as quickly as possible.”

The minister said that the political will and commitment of government was to make Nigeria a hub for the production of high quality, affordable and efficacious vaccines. Dr. Ehanire also said the nation had a vested interest in Biovaccines Nigeria Limited, which is a manufacturing company incorporated to produce routine EPI vaccines that are also participating in efforts to produce COVID-19 vaccines, courtesy of the WHO.

However, he also said to “utilise the diverse possibilities offered by the novel mRNA vaccine technology for use in other areas of vaccine need, both the ones we know of, or as yet unknown, much research and development work is needed. The Federal Ministry of Health and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, therefore, came together to explore the enormous potential at the National Veterinary Research Institute in Vom, to collaborate, by sharing knowledge, skills, expertise and valuable human resource and physical assets, where they are in common, in a bid to leapfrog vaccine research and development for human vaccines along parallel production lines of human and Veterinary vaccines.”