Following the agreement reached by the Federal Government and the management of May & Baker Plc, on 31 May 2017, to revamp the moribund Federal Vaccine Production Laboratory (FVPL) in Yaba now Biovaccine Nigeria Limited, for the purpose of resuming vaccine production which had stopped for years, the Managing Director/CEO, May & Baker Plc, Mr. Nnamdi Okafor has disclosed that the Yellow Fever vaccine will be ready by 2021.
Okafor, who spoke with the press at a Media parley in the company, noted that the initial plans of reactivating the technology used by FVPL for the production of vaccines previously, will no longer work, as the appraisal report of experts appointed for the evaluation of the project, stated that the Yellow Fever vaccine production by Biovaccine Nigeria Limited will have to be started afresh.
His words: “We had initially announced that within two years of signing the agreement, with the premise of working from Yaba Laboratory, we are going to produce our first product. However since that agreement was signed, we did not wait for the board to be inaugurated, we have already started work. We had appointed some partners working with us already. We have sent them to Yaba Laboratory and they have done a thorough appraisal of the present situation, so the outcome of their assessment is that we cannot reactivate the technology used for the production of Yellow Fever vaccine. Thus, we are going to start afresh”.
The May & Baker boss however noted that while processing is ongoing for the Yellow Fever vaccine production, Biovaccine staff will undertake the production of other products that are of equal importance to the EPI programme for the benefits of the masses.
“We are looking at being able to formulate, fill, finish and release the first set of products in the next three years. By 2021, we should be able to have the first products. But before then, Biovaccine will be functioning in distribution and marketing capacity. We are going to be engaged in the registration of some vaccines, and marketing them not on our agreement with FG, but on the initiative of Biovaccine staff to generate revenue pending when Biovaccine starts producing,” he emphasised.
Okafor who highlighted the achievements of the company for the outgoing year, said May & Baker Plc has performed better this year, with the company’s shares price ranking highest in terms of value appreciation in the entire market, by mid-year, following the announcement of the vaccine production.
He further stated that the organisation was able to introduce a couple of new products, for the maximum benefits of the Nigerian populace, with an expanded vision to be the top healthcare brand in Sub-Saharan Africa in the next five years.
The media get-to-get was well attended by correspondents of national dailies and executive directors and managers of May & Baker Plc.