'We want to produce vaccines ourselves,' Nigeria tells US

Nigeria wants the cooperation of other countries to locally produce its own vaccines.

The Federal Government has asked the United States government to support its bid to locally manufacture vaccines.

Nigeria is one of numerous developing countries around the world whose COVID-19 vaccination efforts have been significantly affected by supply issues.

The issues have mostly revolved around hoarding by rich countries, and reluctance of pharmaceutical companies to ease restrictions around manufacturing details.

Nigeria's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said during a joint media briefing with U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, on Thursday, November 18, 2021 that Nigeria needs the cooperation of other countries to produce its own vaccines.

He said, "What we really need to be looking at, of course, is manufacturing vaccines ourselves here, and we're hoping to have some cooperation and support from the United States and other friendly countries in the transfer of technology that is required and also in the licensing agreements, especially for the transfer of intellectual property rights, the permission or the license to produce."

Only about 3.3 million people have been fully vaccinated in Nigeria since the exercise started in March.

This is only 2.9% of the targeted population, prompting officials to launch a mass vaccination campaign this week with the goal of vaccinating at least 50% of the country's target by the end of next January.

Much of Nigeria's vaccine supply have come from donations from countries like the U.S.

Onyeama thanked Blinken for the donations, and the assistance provided for Nigeria's health sector to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Secretary noted that the U.S. has already donated 7.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Nigeria, and will send 'another significant number of doses' by the end of the year.

"And we're providing significant aid to save lives right now, from the more than 150 testing labs that we helped to set up nationwide to helping tackle a food security crisis that was worsened by the pandemic," he said.

The U.S. official met with President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on his first physical visit to Nigeria.

They discussed bilateral cooperation and shared priorities, including security challenges in Nigeria, and the importance of strengthening democracy in West Africa.

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