The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said on Tuesday the Federal Government planned to set up a modern vaccine production company to encourage indigenous production of COVID-19 vaccines in the country.
Ehanire, who disclosed this at the daily media briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, said the ministry would sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a first line pharmaceutical company in Nigeria on a Public-Private- Partnership (PPP) agreement to set up the company.
He added that the government was working with the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure Nigeria’s access to the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it became available.
The minister, however, expressed concern over the decline in the testing capacity in several states of the federation.
He disclosed that over 2.8 million COVID-19 cases were reported globally in the last one week.
According to him, record had shown that only Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory had met the testing target of at least one percent of the population.
Ehanire said: “Plateau, Rivers and Gombe had reached over 50 percent of their one percent of their target while 25 states are yet to reach 25 per cent of their population.
“The evolving global situation of COVID-19 gives us much reason for concern with half of the cases in Europe.
“The United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain and others in Europe have resorted to lockdown and other measures, to control the pandemic.
“With the high volume of air traffic between Nigeria and Europe, we are examining the associated risk factors for Nigeria. Our concern is heightened by several emerging factors that challenge whatever gains we may have made in recent months.”