By Asmau Ahmad
Biovaccines Nigeria Limited is partnering with Biofarma Indonesia Pharmaceuticalagency Manufacturing for the production of vaccines in the country.
The Chairman, Biovaccines Nigeria Limited, Professor Oyewale Tomori, disclosed this during a courtesy visit of the Indonesian Ambassador, Dr. Usra Harahap, and his team to the company on Thursday in Lagos.
Tomori, also a virologist, said the meeting was a continuation of the arrangements and agreement with Biofarma to set up a vaccine production plant in Nigeria.
According to him, the arrangement started in 2019 when Biovaccine went to a conference in Indonesia and visited the country’s vaccine production setup – Biofarma pharmaceuticals.
“Few years ago in 2019, we actually visited the Indonesian Biofarma vaccines production set up (well established), and that’s where we began the introduction and opportunity for us to have a collaboration between the two companies – Biovaccines and Biofarma.
“Currently, Biofarma produces a lot of vaccines, which are accredited by the World Health Organisation.
“The visit of the Ambassador, I think, is a step in the right direction for us to concretise all our different arrangements. Because of the COVID-19, there is a slow down in activities and now the pandemic is gone, we are reviving the partnership.
“We hope that in another short time, and as soon as we get the necessary approvals from the government, things will move much faster than they have moved before,” Tomori said.
The virologist expressed optimism that the project would be successful, given the support and approval of the Federal Government and the Federal Executive Council.
The Chief Operating Officer, Biovaccines Nigeria Ltd., Mr. Everest Okeakpu, said that Nigeria was supposed to have graduated from the Global Alliance for Vaccines Initiative support in 2021, which had been extended to 2028.
Okeakpu said that the extension affected Biovaccines’ plans to kick off the vaccine production plans with Indonesia in 2019.
He said that the partnership would create huge employment opportunities for Nigerian citizens.
He added that it would conserve foreign exchange and enhance the capability of the country.
“Definitely, no country can produce all the vaccines it needs, at one point, it may need to import one or two vaccines that it doesn’t produce.
“But the objective is to ensure that Nigeria becomes a vaccines production country, so that if by 2028, GAVI stops supplying the country with vaccines, it will be able to provide the vaccines it needs,” he said.
Dr. Usra Harahap, Ambassador, Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, said that the partnership would strengthen the bilateral relationship between Nigeria and Indonesia.
Harahap explained that in the course of the partnership, Indonesia would deploy both materials, human capital, and technological know-how to Nigeria to boost its production capacities and capabilities
He expressed the readiness and commitment of Indonesia to collaborate with Nigeria on its local vaccine production plans.