OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has urged the federal government to join the race to find the vaccine against novel Coronavirus.
This decision followed a motion moved by Chike Okafor (APC, Imo) on Tuesday during plenary.
According to Okafor, Nigeria shut down the only facilities with capacity to produce vaccines in 1991.
He noted that local production of vaccines will save the country N4billion spent on importation of vaccines annually.
“The Yaba Vaccine Production Laboratory Lagos was active in vaccine production for about six decades, between 1940 and 1991, producing large quantities of vaccines against smallpox, rabies and yellow fever for not only Nigeria, but also for neighbouring countries like Cameroon, and other African countries;
“The Yaba Vaccine Production Laboratory, was closed down by the Federal Government in 1991 in order to upgrade the facility for optimal production but the facility has remained under lock and key till date.”
He added that the outbreak of the COVID19 virus has further increased the need for the nation to invest into research on vaccine production.
He urged the government to review a 2017 agreement signed with a Nigeria based pharmaceutical company, May and Baker.
“In 2017, the Federal Government signed a partnership agreement with May and Baker Nigeria PLC to float a company named Biovaccine Limited for the commencement of local vaccine production in Nigeria, however, the company is yet to commence the production of those live saving vaccines.
“Presently African Countries like South Africa, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Madagascar and Senegal have functional laboratories for production and export of vaccines for use and export.”
The House therefore resolved to mandate the Committees on Healthcare Services, Health Institutions and Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria to invite the Minister, Federal Ministry of Health, the Executive Director/CEO, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, the Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the Executive Director, May and Baker Nigeria PLC to brief the Committees.