The World Health Organisation has selected Nigeria and five other African countries to begin their own mRNA vaccine production.
A statement from WHO on Friday listed other countries selected as the first recipients of technology from the WHO’s global mRNA vaccine hub as Egypt, Kenya, Senegal, South Africa, and Tunisia.
WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, announced the first six countries that would receive the technology needed to produce mRNA vaccines on the African continent at the African Union summit in Brussels on Friday.
The announcement was made at a ceremony hosted by the European Council, France, South Africa, and WHO in the presence of President Emmanuel Macron, President Cyril Ramaphosa, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
Part of the statement read, “Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Tunisia all applied and have been selected as recipients.
“The global mRNA technology transfer hub was established in 2021 to support manufacturers in low and middle-income countries to produce their own vaccines, ensuring that they have all the necessary operating procedures and knowhow to manufacture mRNA vaccines at scale and according to international standards.”
Buhari welcomes Nigeria’s designation as a manufacturing base
Meanwhile, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), Friday in Brussels, Belgium, welcomed the designation of Nigeria as one of the six countries in Africa designated to manufacture the COVID-19 vaccine.
This is as he called for collaboration to address the effects of the pandemic.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, revealed this in a statement he signed on Friday titled ‘In Brussels, President Buhari welcomes Nigeria’s designation as vaccine manufacture base, calls for closer collaboration on covid effects.’
In his contribution to the ‘Roundtable on Health Systems and Vaccine Production at the ongoing 6th Europe-Africa Summit, Buhari said, “I am delighted to receive the news of the selection of Nigeria among recipients of MRNA Vaccine technology transfer. We shall ensure the best use is made of the opportunity.
“Primarily set up to address the COVID-19 emergency, the hub has the potential to expand manufacturing capacity for other products as well, putting countries in the driver’s seat when it comes to the kinds of vaccines and other products they need to address their health priorities.
“Depending on the infrastructure, workforce and clinical research, and regulatory capacity in place, WHO and partners will work with the beneficiary countries to develop a roadmap and put in place the necessary training and support so that they can start producing vaccines as soon as possible.”
Tedros was quoted as calling for equitable access to vaccines in order to beat the pandemic, and rails against the way wealthy nations hogged doses, leaving Africa lagging behind other continents in the global vaccination effort.
Reacting, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa said, “This is an initiative that will allow us to make our own vaccines, and that, to us, is very important. It means mutual respect, mutual recognition of what we can all bring to the party, investment in our economies, infrastructure investment, and, in many ways, giving back to the continent.”