The Federal Government spends at least N6 billion annually on importation of vaccines from other countries annually. The figure, it was gathered, excludes the amount spent by states and local governments in importation of vaccines. Managing Director and CEO, May & Baker Plc, Mr. Nnamdi Okafor disclosed this at a news conference at the weekend in Lagos.
He said plans are underway between the Federal Government and May & Baker to build West Africa’s first vaccine facility in Nigeria under a special purpose company, Bio-vaccines Nigeria Limited. He said for now, the World Health Organisation is the major importer of vaccines in Nigeria.
He added that the joint venture agreement was entered into with May & Baker Nigeria Plc in 2007 to build a multi millionaire vaccine facility in Nigeria to reduce dependence on foreign vaccines and save foreign exchange.
He said some of the vaccines to be produced in the facility include; Yellow Fever vaccine, Bacillus Calmette Guerin, Hepatitis B, Diphtheria, tetanus and Pertusis, oral polio vaccines, measles and yellow fever vaccines. He added that the vaccine facility is imperative as world leading pharmaceuticals are shying away from vaccine production because of its low profit fielding capability.
He noted that if vaccines are not produced locally, the future of Nigeria and other West African children will be jeopardised as pharmaceutical companies in advanced countries will soon stop manufacturing vaccines.