HomeHealthNigeria not ready for production of human vaccines –Virologist

Nigeria not ready for production of human vaccines –Virologist

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Lara Adejoro

A professor of virology at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Sunday Omilabu, says Nigeria is not ready for the production of human vaccines.

According to him, Nigeria lacks the political will and wherewithal for the local production of human vaccines.

Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise, Omilabu said the non-availability of funds is a major challenge to producing vaccines in the country.

“For us to work on a local vaccine, we need the wherewithal for us to do that successfully. It’s not that it’s a difficult thing to do but we need some basic facilities to support the local production of vaccines.

“Vaccines development require lots of funds and I don’t see us going far in the country. We struggle to pay salary so where do we get funds to develop vaccines?”

He noted that Nigeria has the human resources but lacks funds and facilities for the production of human vaccines.

“Vaccine production is a huge investment if we want to embark on that production. If the funds are available, we can get the facilities.

“The experts are available but the funds must be readily made available and we need reorientation because we need to invest in vaccine development. It is a capital investment, and not until we are ready for that, I don’t see us producing local vaccines.

“We need funds and power supply is also a problem and it’s going to consume a lot of money,” Omilabu said.

Recall that the Chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, had recently said that with the government’s inability to get more vaccines, only two million Nigerians would be fully vaccinated.

This is even as Mustapha called on the United Kingdom and other developed countries to assist with vaccines as soon as possible to enable Nigeria to vaccinate more people and prevent the third wave of the virus in the country.

Mustapha said the initial plan of the government was to vaccinate 40 percent of the population in 2021 and another 30 percent in 2022.

He said with the latest development, one percent of the estimated population would be fully vaccinated by the time the exercise would be completed, noting that Nigeria is at risk of serious community transmission of COVID-19.

He stated this while receiving the British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ambassador, Gill Atkinson, in Abuja.

Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, stated that with the percentage of people vaccinated so far, Nigeria is far from achieving herd immunity, adding that the country is in a danger zone and under threat of mass community transmission of the lethal virus.

He said, “The clear indication and signal is that Nigeria is still in the danger zone.

“The chances of mass community transmission are still there because by the time we complete this phase of vaccination, only one percent of the population would have been fully vaccinated.

“We need support because our initial schedule was that we would try as much as possible to vaccinate, through the support of COVAX and Harvard facility, 40 percent in 2021 and 30 percent in 2022. What we are succeeding to do now is a far cry from that,” Mustapha said.

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