According to him, due to restrictions on Covid-19, the Latvian economy has been stalled, although it has been done in order not to overload hospitals. But looking ahead, the pandemic can reoccur, and “it would be certainly wise and important to prepare for such times”.
"In terms of vaccination, we are tailing the rest of Europe, because we simply lack these vaccines. Three of Latvia's leading companies, Grindex, Olainfarm and Pharmidea, have made a proposal to the Ministry of Economics that the time has actually come to build an industrial laboratory in Latvia and also a factory that would be able to produce vaccines on site with purchased technology," Skrīvelis said.
According to him, the construction of production and filling lines and the setting up of a control laboratory could cost €62-68 million. Around €15 million in the first year, as well as €12 million in each of the following years, are needed for the purchase of vaccine manufacturing technology. According to Skrīvelis, the public-private partnership model could be used to fund the idea.
The factory and the availability of vaccines, according to Skrīvelis, are aimed at preventing people from going to the hospital at all, so that hospitals are not congested, so that people are vaccinated.
Olainfarm Board Chairman Jerūns Veitess said that Olainfarm looked positively at the idea of setting up a vaccine plant – a company with interest will explore the possibilities of producing a vaccine against Covid-19 here in Latvia.
"It should be noted that starting this type of production requires specific knowledge and infrastructure and, above all, essential financial means. For the project to be successful, it is necessary to have mutual consistency and a common approach between all stakeholders – government, healthcare, universities and manufacturing companies – and it would take several years for such a project to be carried out,” Veitess said.