Nigeria and five other African countries have been selected for the production of COVID-19 vaccines.

Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Ghebreyesus announced on Friday, Daily Dates Nigeria reports.

“Today I’m delighted to announce the first six African countries that will receive technology from the hub to produce their own mRNA vaccines: Egypt, Kenya Nigeria, Senegal South Africa, and Tunisia,” He said.

According to the WHO, they were selected as the first recipients of technology from the organisation’s global mRNA vaccine hub, in a push to ensure the African continent can make its own jabs to fight COVID and other diseases.

“I was honoured to visit the Hub last week. And it’s already producing results, with Afrigen’s announcement that it has produced its own mRNA vaccine, based on publicly-available information about the composition of an existing vaccine,” Ghebreyesus said.

“We expect clinical trials to start in the 4th quarter of this year, with approval expected in 2024. We expect the benefits of this initiative will extend far beyond #COVID19, by creating a platform for vaccines against other diseases including malaria and tuberculosis”.

“WHO will work with the companies and the government in each country to develop a roadmap for training and production, based on their needs and capacities.

“Thank you all, and we look forward to working with all of you to make this project a success, for the healthier, safer and fairer Africa”.

According to the WHO boss, no other event like the Covid-19 pandemic has shown that reliance on a few companies to supply global public goods is limiting, and dangerous.

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He, therefore, stressed that the best way to address health emergencies and reach universal health coverage is to significantly increase the capacity of all regions to manufacture the health products they need.

Tedros has continually called for equitable access to vaccines in order to beat the pandemic, and rails against the way wealthy nations have hogged doses, leaving Africa lagging behind other continents in the global vaccination effort.

A ceremony marking the mRNA tech transfer announcement was to be held Friday in Brussels at the summit between the European Union and the African Union.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said: “We have been talking a lot about producing mRNA vaccines in Africa. But this goes even beyond. This is mRNA technology designed in Africa, led by Africa and owned by Africa.”

In Nigeria, many are yet to be vaccinated despite efforts by authorities to make citizens get the jab.

On Thursday, the country recorded 45 new cases of the virus, bringing its total number of confirmed cases to 254,182.

230,530 cases are, however, said to have recovered, while 3,141 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

The 45 new cases were reported from eight states – Lagos (18), Cross River (7), FCT (7), Oyo (5), Kano (3), Nasarawa (3), Ekiti (1) and Rivers (1).

Across the world, the vaccine continues to rage on.