President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has announced government’s plans to develop its capacity to produce COVID-19 vaccines locally in a bid to reduce the dependence on foreign supplies.
According to him, this is as a result of the global shortage of coronavirus vaccines that has stalled the country’s vaccination plans for some time.
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In an address to nation on measures taken to curtail the spread of the pandemic, President Akufo-Addo said government will commit to a seed fund injection of US$25 million for the National Vaccine Production Institute.
“The Committee I established, under the leadership of the world-renowned Ghanaian scientist, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, to investigate Ghana’s potential as a vaccine manufacturing hub, to meet national and regional needs, has presented its preliminary report which, amongst others, recommends the establishment of a National Vaccine Institute to spearhead this development,” Akufo-Addo said.
“Government has committed to inject seed funding of some twenty-five million United States dollars (US$25 million) this year into this whole enterprise,” he revealed.
He outlined that the institute will be mandated to carry out six clear tasks to achieve a self-reliant and sufficient local vaccine development enterprise.
These are: Establishing local vaccine manufacturing plants;
Deepening Research & Development (R&D) for vaccines in Ghana; upgrading and strengthening the FDA;
Forging bilateral and multilateral partnerships for vaccine manufacturing in various areas, such as funding, clinical trials, technology transfer, licensing, and assignment of intellectual property rights;
Building the human resource base for vaccine discovery, development, and manufacturing
and establishing a permanent national secretariat to coordinate vaccine development and manufacture.
Meanwhile, Government has said it is procuring some 18,478,670 vaccines through the COVAX facility, African Medicine Supply Platform and other bodies. These vaccines, the president said, are expected to arrive over the next few months of the year.
“The United States of America through the COVAX facility is providing 1,000,000 Pfizer vaccines, the African Union is providing 229,670 Pfizer vaccines while the United Kingdom is giving out 249,000 AstraZeneca vaccines,” he added.
He continued, “Government is also in the process of procuring seventeen million (17 million) single dose per person Johnson & Johnson vaccines, through the African Medicine Supply Platform, in this quarter.”