FG To Establish COVID-19 Production Company

Moses Ofodeme

The Federal Government is planning a modern vaccine production company in Nigeria to encourage licensed indigenous production of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire disclosed this at the COVID-19 PTF briefing on Tuesday, November 3, in Abuja.

Ehanire said that the ministry was preparing to sign a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with a first-line pharmaceutical company in Nigeria, on a Public/Private partnership to set up the company.

He also said the government was working with the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure Nigeria’s access to the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it became available.

The minister expressed concern over the decline in the testing rate in several states of the federation; as over 2.8 million cases were reported globally in the last one week.

According to him, records show that only Lagos and the FCT have met the testing target of at least one per cent of the population.

”Plateau, Rivers, and Gombe have reached over 50 per cent of their one per cent of their target; while 25 states are yet to reach 25 per cent of their population.

“The evolving global situation of COVID-19 gives us much reason for concern with half of the cases in Europe.

“The UK, France, Germany, Spain, and others in Europe have resorted to lockdown and other measures, to control the pandemic.

“With the high volume of air traffic between Nigeria and Europe; we are examining the associated risk factors for Nigeria.

“Our concern is heightened by several emerging factors that challenge whatever gains we may have made in recent months.

“The inevitable need to reopen air travel, to stimulate economic activities, the imminent reopening of schools and Youth Service, again necessary for the restoration of social order, but which global experience links with spikes in covid infection rates in most countries,” the minister said.

He added that the effect of recent social agitation and unrest; with attendant disruption of services and widespread breach of all infection prevention protocols; the growing lackadaisical attitude to COVID-19; and disregard for safety and simple infection prevention and control measures was also a source of concern.

Ehanire also noted that contact tracing and case finding have declined; in states with a consequent reduction in the number of persons tested.

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