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Nigeria Launches new vaccine policy to promote local production of vaccines

The Federal Government has launched a new vaccine policy to enhance access to vaccines and their use for the protection of citizens from infectious diseases.

Also, the third edition of the national drug policy was also unveiled in order to guarantee an adequate supply of drugs that are effective, affordable, safe and of good quality, Nairametrics reports.

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, speaking at the launch of the maiden edition of the Nigeria Vaccine Policy and the third edition of the National Drug Policy held in Abuja on Thursday, said that the policy would create a supportive environment for access and use of vaccines to set the requirements and mandates for the protection of citizens from internal and external harm.

According to the minister, there is a need to resuscitate local production of vaccines and intensify research and development as this new drug policy would ensure the rational use of drugs and stimulate increased local production of essential drugs.

He added that there is a need to strengthen the legislation and regulatory agencies to support the quality and safety of vaccines in Nigeria.

The Minister indicated that the federal government has been paying special attention to the pharmaceutical sub-sector, stating that a partnership has been established between the Federal Government and the May & Baker Pharmaceutical established the Biovaccine Nigeria Limited, to encourage local vaccine manufacturing.

He said the government is intentional towards boosting the local capacity for the manufacture of essential medicines.

Furthermore, he stated that the new vaccine policy should now encourage Biovaccine Nigeria Limited, other international key players and manufacturers to deploy the use of appropriate technologies in modern vaccines production to boost local production of vaccines in Nigeria and West Africa.

“A Nigeria Vaccine Policy will reflect new realities and trends, including the provisions enumerated in the Universal Health Coverage (UHC), Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), National Health Act 2014, National Health Policy 2016 and PHC Under One Roof (PHCUOR). This will further ensure the development of strategies that will respond adequately to global health trends for emerging diseases and pandemics that impact the Nigerian health system, he said.

He added that “Most importantly, the ongoing global efforts to develop COVID-19 vaccines further provide a strong justification for enacting a Nigeria Vaccine Policy in the interest of achieving Vaccine Security in Nigeria”.

In closing, he commented that it was worthy to note that the implementation strategies for achieving local vaccines’ production and ownership of its supply were achievable with the launch of the policy document. He asked that there should be a mobilization of resources from governments across all levels, individuals, the international communities, donor agencies, in order to achieve the objective of the policy.