Nigeria should work towards local manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines

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The federal government recently re-introduced limitations aimed at averting a spike of the coronavirus in Nigeria.

As a result of this development, the government issued travel guidelines on passengers in India, Brazil and Turkey, where the illness is spreading fast and killing hundreds of people on daily basis. This is commendable because the authorities acted proactively. Nigerians visit India and Turkey on a regular foundation for trade and medical tourism. They shouldn’t be permitted to travel overseas to cure some diseases only return with different ailments. It’s our view that the ban should remain in place whenever the situation improves considerably in those nations. The authorities should equally not hesitate to expand the ban to other nations where necessary.

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Moreover, it imposed a night curfew and limited gatherings at worship centres and closed down clubs and some other recreational centres. Civil servants on tier level one to 12 have been requested to quit going to work. This is coming barely 3 months after they were recalled to duty following the lockdown that closed nearly the entire world this past year. In the new guidelines, schools are allowed to remain open, unlike last year when they were closed down for nearly six months. However, a heavy responsibility now rests with the college authorities to ensure strict compliance with COVID-19 protocols.

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The resurgence of the disease this season came as a result of the relaxation of public health and social preventive steps all over the world. In Nigeria, many individuals have ceased wearing a face mask, with hand sanitiser and observing social distancing. It’s worthy of note that Nigeria has the health care facilities nor the manpower to handle a surge in the disease. Additionally, the vaccines aren’t offered. The job of staying safe, therefore, rests on citizens.

We will like to stress that the COVID-19 protocols have to be efficiently enforced. It is insufficient to announce them; effort has to be made to ensure they are complied with. So far, not much difference has been noticed as folks are still going about their daily activities without observing the protocols. Lessons learnt in the past must guide the present. This should resume with minimum delay. Government should also expedite action on procuring vaccines.

We’ll like to indicate that as a long-term plan, Nigeria should work towards local manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines. This is necessary because as of now no one can forecast the close of the pandemic. Our current circumstance where we solely depend on imports can’t be allowed to continue. The local production has multiple advantages. It will not just guarantee adequate supplies and rescue the country a lot in foreign exchange, it will also prove invaluable whenever Nigeria or even the world is confronted with any other public health emergency.

It is true that in the present time there’s absolutely no laboratory to deal with this job, but it would not take an eternity to construct one. The most crucial aspect in the equation is manpower. This should not present any problem since Nigeria has scientists to handle this job. This will undoubtedly accelerate the procedure. Nigeria cannot afford the situation in India. Therefore, everything possible measure must be taken to avert it.

 

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