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FG announces partnership with Indian firm on vaccine production

FG announces partnership with Indian firm on vaccine production
September 14
22:15 2022

Osagie Ehanire, minister of health, says the federal executive council (FEC) has approved the production of vaccines in commercial quantity to support routine immunisation programmes in the country.

He said this on Wednesday while briefing journalists at the end of the weekly meeting of the council held at the presidential villa, Abuja.

He said the initiative is a joint venture between Biovaccines Nigeria Limited and Serum Institute of India, an Indian biotechnology and biopharmaceuticals company.

He said the approval is, however, limited to routine vaccines, and not the COVID vaccine.

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“As you know, government has a joint venture agreement and formed the company that is called Biovaccines Nigeria Limited, which is to start producing vaccines domestically,” the minister said.

“Now, they have been sourcing for international partners who will join them and give them the technology transfer that they require.

“After going to various countries — South Africa, Indonesia — they settled with the Serum Institute of India, which will now be the technical partner to support them in setting up the vaccine production plant in Nigeria. 

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“They asked ‘if we help you to produce in Nigeria, who will buy?’ And that’s what we call the market access because vaccines are not things you put on the shelves where people will go and buy like Panadol.

“They have to be purchased by government and they are supposed to be administered by government by the Primary Health Care Development Agency.

“So, who will buy? So government now has approved 15 percent of the vaccines that UNICEF normally supplies us, for Biovaccines Nigeria Limited to supply through contract manufacturing.

“With this, Serum Institute of India will now be comfortable enough to come and join Biovaccines in building their manufacturing plant here in Nigeria, in Ota.”

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On the timeline for commencement, the minister said production will start before the end of 2022.

“The contract manufacturing that was approved today will be done for Biovaccines. But before the end of this year, the groundbreaking will start because they are already drawing the plan,” he said.

“The structural plan — everything — is already completed. The survey has been done. The approval has been given and then, with this partnership, they will now break the ground and start building right away.”

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