President Muhammadu Buhari has said his administration is encouraging Nigerians to get vaccinated as Nigeria is working on producing its own Covid-19 vaccine, as the country battles the everyday growing cases of the Corona virus.
Health experts say Nigeria needs to triple its vaccination reach from just over 100,000 doses a day to meet its reqtarget of inoculating more than half its population by the end of next year.
The West African country has been taking a look at other options to acquire or purchase vaccines through the COVAX facility to enable it to inoculate at least 70% of its population.
Some of the vaccine donations it received had a shelf life that left only weeks to administer the shots. Nigeria destroyed more than 1 million expired vaccines last month.
“We are working very hard with the ministry of health to develop vaccines,” Buhari said on state television. “We shouldn’t make noise about it until we succeed.”
Nigeria’s minister of state for health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora, said the country was working to establish a vaccine-manufacturing hub within two or three years. But this would depend on the availability of funds,
He stated “Vaccine manufacturing is not done in a jiffy. We have had engagements with some of our international development partners and funding partners towards developing our vaccine manufacturing hub. It’s a joint venture project between the federal government and an indigenous pharmaceutical company”
The senior health official added: “The timeline is a function of how soon we get funding. We have to source funds through international agencies, as well as technological support. So, we are looking at the next two to three years.”
Nigeria, which has not tested widely for Covid-19, has recorded over 200,00 cases and over 3,000 deaths since the pandemic started.