BY Victoria Ogunrinde
The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, has explained why Nigeria cannot produce COVID-19 vaccines or other vaccines.
Mr Shuaib, while speaking at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 briefing on Monday, said the process of producing a vaccine requires massive investment that has not been done for many decades.
“There are questions around why Nigeria is not producing COVID-19 vaccines. I want to put on record that the process of producing a vaccine is very complex and complicated. It requires massive investment that has not been done for many decades,” he said.
Mr Faisal noted that Nigeria used to produce vaccines in its first few decades after independence in 1960, a process which, he said, suffered a setback due to the decision to adopt more advanced technologies.
“In the 1960s, we use to make yellow fever vaccines in this country. In the 90s, we decided to change analogue ways of making yellow fever vaccines to more recent technologies.
“However, that transfer of technology never happened and that is why we did not continue to make vaccines,” Mr Shuaib said.
With the recent spike in coronavirus cases across the world and new COVID variants, many countries are already on the queue to access effective vaccines for citizens.
Some of the vaccines already approved to be effective against the virus include Pfizer and bioNtech vaccine as well as Moderna and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines.
The approved vaccines require two doses to provide the best possible protection, with the second dose given up to 12 weeks after the first.