Featured Health

NEC okays local production of COVID-19 vaccines

The National Economic Council (NEC) on Thursday endorsed efforts being made to produce COVID-19 vaccines locally.

It also said Nigeria was open to partnership and outsourcing arrangements with foreign producers of the vaccines for the production of the anti-COVID-19 drugs.

Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) whose members constitute the majority of NEC members, had earlier in the day distanced itself from Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello’s “ill-fated pronouncement” on Sunday   that COVID-19 vaccines were meant to kill people and reduce population.

A major drug manufacturer, May & Baker and a Federal Government team headed by Prof Oyewale Tomori, are spearheading the drive for either local production or partnership arrangement for the manufacturing of the vaccines outside the country.

COVID-19 has killed over 1,478 in Nigeria out of the 2,090,731 across the globe. There are over 114,691 active COVID-19 cases  in the country  out the 97,616,924 worldwide.

Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, briefed State House correspondents on efforts between the Federal and state governments to contain the virus after the first NEC virtual meeting in the year.

 Okowa said: “Nigeria and May and Baker are already in partnership for quite some time now, in trying to ensure that we are able to produce vaccines locally.

“And they are already looking very closely at that; and how to partner either the approved vaccine producers or to relate with those vaccines that are still in the process to see what we can do to start to produce vaccines.

“A lot of work is also being done locally; the details of which is not yet available, but we do know that Prof. Oyewale Tomori is working very closely with some of the institutions we have in the country to see the possibility of us beginning to produce vaccines at the moment.’’

He explained that the  production of vaccines required a lot of processes and funding, but expressed optimism that the partnership between May & Baker and the Nigerian government would be fruitful.

According to him, the Tomori-led partnership is  working on being involved in the production of the vaccines either locally or in partnership with those that have been approved globally, like the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.

Okowa added: “There could be the outsourcing of the production of some of these vaccines. And we hope that we can become part of those that will have the outsourcing to produce some of these vaccines, because there are so many of them that are still in the process of seeking approval.

The governor said Nigeria  would soon receive 100, 000 doses of vaccine from Pfizer Pharmaceutical, adding that the first doses would be administered on health workers and the elderly.

He said 40 million more doses of the vaccines were being expected at the end of March or early April, to cover 20 percent of the population.

The governor said the council was not contemplating another lockdown but urged Nigerians to strictly comply with the extant COVID-19 protocols.

The NGF had in a statement earlier on Thursday  said  their “decisions and actions’ concerning  COVID-19  would be guided by “science and informed opinions.”

In the statement,  made available to journalists after their virtual meeting, the NGF members  said there was no going back   as Nigeria is already one of the 12 countries in Africa that had  indicated an interest in the vaccines.

 A part of the statement reads: “On the  ill-fated  pronouncement  made  by a  member  of  the  forum, regarding  the  COVID-19 vaccine,  in  a national  daily,  the  forum  (NGF) totally  and  categorically  dissociated itself  from the statement.

“The forum will  continue  to  be  informed  and  guided  by  science  and  will  ensure  that  every  decision it takes retain public and professional trust and is not compromised by conflicts of interest.”

The NGF Chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, according to the communique briefed members  about  a  meeting with  Dr.  Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the chair  of  the  Board  of  the  Global  Alliance  for  Vaccines  and  Immunisation (GOVI) on plans for the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Fayemi told the meeting that there was  an arrangement for the  World  Health  Organisation  (WHO)  “to  facilitate pooled  procurement  and  the  equitable  distribution  of COVID-19  vaccines  across developing countries. Nigeria  is  among  12  countries  in  Africa  that  have  indicated  readiness  of  the  92  qualified  countries  for the facility and will by end of February 2021 receive its first shipment of vaccines.”

He disclosed that the  National  Primary  Health  Care  Development  Agency (NPHCDA), the agency likely to coordinate the deployment of the vaccines in the country, “has  indicated that  vaccines  will be  administered  in  four  phases,  based  on  vaccine  type  and  availability,  initially  for  frontline  health workers,  then  the  aged  (55yrs  and  above),  persons  with  underlying  medical  conditions   and   other  target groups.”

Fayemi  added that the meeting was briefed by ”  medical  experts,  including  Prof.  Tomori, a leading virologist  and  former  vice-chancellor  of  Redeemer’s  University,  Nigeria;  Dr.  Faisal  Shuaib,  Executive Director  of   NPHCDA);  Dr.  Pamela  Ajayi, founder/managing  director,  Synlab  Nigeria  (formerly  PathCare),  President  Healthcare  Federation  of Nigeria  and  Dr.  Egbe  Dawodu,  founding  partner  of  the  Anadach  Group  on  the  country’s  preparedness for  the  procurement  and  administration  of  the COVID  vaccines  and  the  level  of  collaboration  required  from all stakeholders, including the federal and state governments as well as the private sector.

The governor added: “Following  the  presentations,  the  forum  set up  a  team  of  experts  led  by  Prof.  Tomori  to advise state  governors  on  the  procurement  and  administration  of  Coronavirus  vaccines  in the country. “

Related posts

Repair: FAAN to close runway at Enugu airport Aug. 24

By Shile GIWA

Buhari reiterates commitment toward improved welfare for Army

Editor

Nigerians must begin to invest in real sector, Olabinjo

Our Reporter

Turkey to deport 12,474 illegal migrants

By Kunle SHONUGA

IMF may approve Nigeria’s $3.4bn loan today

Our Reporter

Oil contributes 81% to N2.99tn Q3 exports

Our Reporter
Social Media Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com