The earliest indication given to the government of Ghana by the suppliers of the COVID-19 vaccine to access the next batch of the vaccines is August, Minister of Health Kwaku Agyeman-Manu has said.
According to the Dormaa Central legislator, “we are waiting for vaccines”.
“The agreements I signed, if they give me an indication that ‘tomorrow morning, come to the airport and collect your vaccines’, we will go”, he told the media, adding: “Other than that, the earlier time we have an indication to get vaccines would be in August.”
According to him, the government has not abandoned its plans to manufacture the vaccines at home but noted that it might not be immediate.
“We have factories that were preparing themselves to produce vaccines and they have sent proposals to the government’s committee on the COVID-19 response team and things are progressing.
“If anything at all, in the very immediate future, we may be doing finishing and packing before we develop our own, and I think we have scientists who are ready to support us.”
Meanwhile, President Nana Akufo-Addo has indicated that Ghana is facing difficulty in getting access to COVID-19 vaccines for the national vaccination programme.
According to him, the global politics on manufacturing, procurement and distribution is not helping the situation.
President Akufo-Addo revealed that the government has set up a team to work out the modalities that will see to the production of vaccines in Ghana.
The team is led by former Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng.
Speaking at an SDG forum at the Jubilee House, President Akufo-Addo said: “We have obvious difficulties as far as the vaccination programme is concerned”.
“Unfortunately, we are the victims of this worldwide shortage of vaccines that poor and less-advantaged nations are experiencing by not having access to the vaccines”.
“So, that, of course, is a major challenge for us, the procurement logistics and the issues involved in it.”
A member of Ghana’s COVID-19 response team, Dr Bernard Okoe Boye, also noted that the government is considering other options to get vaccines for the country.
“What is happening to Ghana is a global issue. So, what we are doing is that this government is engaging directly with other European countries who have stock of AstraZeneca and are not deploying them that much. So, we will continue to explore,” he said.
He continued: “It will be difficult to speak and state the specific date because with this Africa platform that we are using and the direct Russia government engagement people are talking about, they tell us that it will take six or 12 months before the vaccines will come and remember in a year, a lot can happen.”