President Muhammadu Buhari has welcomed the designation of Nigeria as one of the manufacturing bases for the COVID-19 vaccine.
In a statement signed by the senior special assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the president calls for collaboration to address the effects of the pandemic.
Mr 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. Nigeria also offers to host the Bio-manufacturing training hub by World Health Organization (WHO) and we commit to providing support to make the hub functional in the shortest possible time,” said the president.
He explained that African leaders are prioritizing the manufacturing of vaccines on the continent and in the sharing and transfer of technology
“We call on the European Union (EU) to support the (WorldTrade Organizatrion (WTO) towards the conclusion of negotiations on intellectual property rights’ waiver to ensure that the manufacturing of vaccines can start early in Africa,” he said.
Buhari also appealed to foreign partners to improve on COVID-19 vaccine distribution as less than 10 per cent of the African population had gotten the jab.
He stressed that this situation could negatively affect Africa’s developmental projections.
“We commend the efforts and support of Team Europe for the substantial contribution to the COVAX facility and the EU contribution for Vaccination rollout campaign in Africa.
“But currently, less than 10 per cent of Africa’s population has been vaccinated, compared to more than 60 per cent total vaccinations in the EU, as at the end of 2021,” he said.
He noted that millions of African citizens are yet to receive their first dose of vaccination jabs, while their counterparts in Europe and other parts of the world are bracing up for their third booster shots.
“When eventually, Africa received about 700 million doses of vaccines before the end of 2021 under the COVAX Facility, it represented a considerable shortfall for a population of 1.383 billion. Nigeria strongly believes that these low figures could not only cause a future health crisis but could negatively impact economic growth and our ability to achieve the African Union Agenda 2063,” the president said.