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DOMESTIC VACCINE PRODUCTION HELPS NIGERIA BEYOND COVID-19

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday chose Nigeria as well as five other African nations to assist in COVID-19 vaccine production.  This happened in response to Africa’s limited access to the vaccines.

Moreover, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Ghebreyesus, stated that the COVID-19 pandemic showed that dependence on a select few companies to give out worldwide public items is hindering and harmful.

He emphasized the need to raise all regions’ capacity to manufacture the health items they need to tackle health emergencies.

Furthermore, Tedros championed fair access to COVID-19 vaccines and lashed out at rich nations who hoard jabs and leave Africa behind.

On Friday, the European Union- African Union summit in Brussels held a ceremony marking the mRNA tech transfer.

To assist the continent with its vaccine needs, the WHO instituted a global mRNA technology transfer hub in South Africa in 2021.  This helps vaccine producers in low and middle-income nations manufacture their own vaccines.

Only 1% of the vaccines used in Africa are produced on the continent.

Consequently, the global hub’s function ensures that manufacturers have the necessary skills for producing vaccines according to global standards.

The global hub’s primary aim of addressing the COVID-19 pandemic expands to include manufacturing potential for other jabs.  For instance, these are malaria, tuberculosis, HIV vaccines as well as insulin for diabetes.

This has the final aim of disseminating capacity for national and regional production to all health technologies.

On the other hand, the mRNA technology stimulates an immune response by delivering genetic molecules with the code for key parts of a pathogen into living human cells.

Primarily set up to address the Covid-19 pandemic, the global hub has the potential to expand manufacturing capacity for other vaccines and products, such as insulin to treat diabetes, cancer medicines and, potentially, vaccines for diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV.

The scheme’s ultimate goal is to spread capacity for national and regional production to all health technologies.

Currently, only one per cent of the vaccines used in Africa are produced on the continent of some 1.3 billion people.

The global hub’s role is to ensure that manufacturers in those nations have the know-how to make mRNA vaccines at scale and according to international standards.

Additionally, the global hub creates job opportunities for African scientists and medical personnel.  This will reduce unemployment rate and boost the continent’s economy.

The global hub comes on the heels of the consignment of expired vaccines sent to Africa.  Once the continent starts manufacturing her own vaccines, this reduces dependency on foreign aid. 

It increases the capacity to combat future pandemics as well as tackle the prevalent diseases on the continent.

Health authorities around the world have administered more than 10.4 billion COVID-19 doses.  In addition, nearly 62% of the earth’s population have received at least one shot.

Nonetheless, only 11.3% of Africans have been fully vaccinated as at the beginning of February.

Many Nigerians are yet to get their first shot, despite efforts by the authorities to make the populace vaccinated.

More than 10.4 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered around the world, with nearly 62 percent of the global population having received at least one shot.

However, just 11.3 per cent of Africans had been fully immunized by the start of February.

In Nigeria, many are yet to be vaccinated despite efforts by authorities to make citizens get inoculated.

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