Professor Oyewale Tomori

Martins Ifijeh

Locally-produced vaccines in Nigeria will be ready within the next three to four years, the Chairman, Board of Directors, Biovaccines Nigeria Limited, Professor Oyewale Tomori, has said.

He said the Board will not only meet the stipulated time frame, but will ensure it produces vaccines of highest quality in a sustainable manner, which will be of no harm to Nigerians.

Disclosing this at a press conference in Lagos recently, the Professor of Virology said the board has reviewed and approved business plans needed for the company to begin its activities, adding that vaccine production requires highly technical and complex technology, which needs time to perfect.

“Vaccine production is a highly technical and complex technology which requires time to perfect. Usually, a Greenfield project will require five to eight years gestation period. But we cannot wait that long.

“We are engaging our experts and relevant government agencies to see how we can shorten this process without making quality compromise. It is our hope that we can achieve production within the next three to four years.

“As a private and independent company, Biovaccines is not encumbered by any bureaucracy and so we are confident that with the expected cooperation from government, the management of the company will move swiftly to achieve our goals in record time.”

He said the board is mindful of the fact that many Nigerians and stakeholders in the health sector are in a hurry to see the country produce her own vaccines to ameliorate the huge burden posed by diseases, particularly on children and mothers, noting that the board is putting strategies in place to deliver their expectations.

Biovaccine Nigeria Ltd is a joint venture between the federal government (49 percent) and May & Baker Nigeria Plc (51 per cent), targeting local manufacture of vaccines between 2017 and 2021. This was approved by the Federal Executive Council last year.

“We are not the first vaccine manufacturers in the world. The vaccines we have been using, others have been manufacturing it. So we are going to be working in partnership with people who are already producing vaccines.

“So our partnership includes getting some of what they are producing and finishing it up in Nigeria, making it a finished product, before we move on to producing our own vaccines,” he added