Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River on Wednesday advised the Federal Government to see the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity for Nigeria to invest in vaccine production.
Ayade, who made the call in an interview with newsmen in Calabar, said that with proper funding of research institutes such development would be possible.
According to him, Setting-up Vaccine Production plants in the country is necessary as the nation needs to quickly produce its own vaccines for Nigerians which is the only way the pandemic can add value to the economy.
“I think that we should be very cautious with our choice of vaccines because there are different types of vaccines and some of them are attenuated.
“So, if a vaccine is attenuated, it means you have reduced its life form, so you need to store it in that deactivated form and sometimes at minus 80 degrees centigrade.
“Where do we have that kind of storage facility in Nigeria?
“If you don’t meet the storage in the transport chain and you get a deactivated antigen to become active, it becomes a source of pathogens and you may not be able to control its virulence.
“The bio-safety regulation requires that before you inject a vaccine of an unknown origin with short trial period, not knowing its cumulative impact on pregnant women, young children or people with different kinds of ailments, certain internal tests need to be done.
“If for nothing else, investment in our universities particularly the appropriate faculties to start producing vaccines is important,” Ayade said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that an attenuated vaccine or a live attenuated vaccine is a vaccine created by reducing the virulence of a pathogen but still keeping it viable or alive.
Attenuation takes an infectious agent and alters it so that it becomes harmless or less virulent.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, had earlier disclosed that Nigeria was expecting 58 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from COVAX and AVATT.