FG, World Bank to raise $30m for COVID-19 vaccine plant




Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said Wednesday that Nigeria and the World Bank are collaborating to raise $30 million to finance a vaccine plant.

He stated this during a conference tagged: “The Health Access and Socio-Economic Development Beyond COVID-19: The First Multisectoral Approach to Solution Finding” in Abuja.

The conference was organised by the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD).

He said the global trend in health had made it critical for Nigeria to establish its own vaccine production facilities.

“Nigeria is in talks with the World Bank’s private lending arm and other lenders to raise about $30 million to help finance a vaccine plant.

“Bio-vaccine Nigeria Limited is chaired by Prof. Oyewale Tomori; 49 per cent of the company is owned by the Nigerian government with the balance held by May and Baker Nigeria PLC and they have plans to begin construction of a plant.

“I believe in the first quarter of next year; the plant which is supposed to be located in Ota, Ogun state, will initially, we are told, fill and finish, which I’m also told, means importing the raw materials for the vaccines and then packaging them for distribution.

“Some South African companies are already involved in doing exactly that. I believe Aspen Pharmacare and Belvac Institute operate similar facilities.

“Full manufacturing, we are told, is expected to follow in the coming months or years. I am not entirely certain when.

“So, it is evident that the way forward is more funding for healthcare and research for innovators to develop solutions in pharmaceuticals and medical consumables.’’

The vice president said that by the discussion he had with NIPRD director-general, Dr Obi Adigwe, he was inspired by the potential and the kind of support that the pharmaceutical industry and research agencies would require.

Osinbajo said the federal government had established the Healthcare Sector Intervention Fund Facility which had disbursed N76.9 billion, about $185 million, to finance the acquisition and installation of critical medical care equipment.