To prioritise its own domestic needs in the face of rising COVID-19 cases in the country, India one of the world’s largest producers of vaccines, last week temporarily puts a hold on the exportation of the AstraZeneca vaccine that it manufactures.
The Serum Institute of India, SII, which produces Novavax and AstraZeneca vaccines also cautioned that raw material shortages were affecting their production amongst others reasons.
In response to the suspension by India in an interview, the President of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Professor Innocent Ujah said;
“It is a big challenge not having facilities to produce vaccines and this is also a problem where you don’t have and you have to depend on other countries. Even the people you have vaccinated before, if you don’t have more, how will you give them the second dose of the vaccine? It is a big challenge.
“This is what we should have done before now and it is not something you can just start because of an emergency situation. That is not possible because the manufacturers have to agree.”
“We will have to start looking elsewhere if India has put an embargo. We have to look at other manufacturers like Pfizer and ensure that they will supply to Nigeria.”
“I expect that the Indian suspension is a temporary one because apart from the fact that they are producing it they are also making gain. So they will have to open it up so that other countries can buy.”
“For a country of over 200 million people, we are expecting that we should vaccinate at least 60 per cent of the population. Over 300,000 is nothing to be proud of.