The ministry of health has said it received in January this year, the remainder of the Covid-19 vaccines it procured earlier, thus, accounting for the discrepancy flagged by the auditor-general in a report.
The A-G had noted that the ministry, on behalf of the government of Ghana, paid $120,192,379.80 to UNICEF/AVAT for the supply of vaccines, however, “5,109,600.00 doses of vaccines valued at $38,322,000.00 were supplied to the National Cold Room leaving a difference of US$81,870,379.00 with UNICEF/AVAT.”
The A-G recommended to the Chief Director of the ministry to renegotiate and recover the outstanding balance.
Responding to the A-G’s report in a statement, the ministry explained: “Due to the unexpected hesitancy, cold chain storage challenges, spontaneous donations as well as manufacturer’s storage difficulties” it was “compelled”, in June 2022, “to agree on a delivery schedule for the remaining 11,052 million doses to be delivered from June to December 2022”.
“According to the schedule, 1.6 million doses were to be delivered from June to December 2022 to complete the allocation. However, this process was delayed because of the afore-mentioned challenges”, the ministry noted.
The statement said currently, “the ministry requested and has received the June allocation which was delivered in January 2023”.
Read the ministry’s full response below:
PROCUREMENT OF JANSSEN VACCINES – USD$ 81,870,379.80 CITED IN THE REPORT ON THE AUDIT OF THE GOVERNMENT OF GHANA COVID-19 EXPENDITURE FOR THE PERIOD MARCH 2020 – JUNE 2022
The Ministry of Health and its partners have noted the media reportage on 22nd January 2023 on the procurement of Janssen vaccines for Ghana at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 and wish to clarify the issues as follows:
1. As part of the African Union’s Strategy to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa, Ghana subscribed to the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) protocol.
AVAT was created as a central entity for the negotiation, procurement and payment for vaccines and also to act as the interface between AU member states, on the one hand and the vaccine manufacturers on the other hand.
Countries were allocated quantities of vaccines based on the population and ability to deploy the vaccines on prescribed schedules.
2. It must be noted that the AVAT protocol required upfront payment by countries for scheduled deliveries such that, soon as any such volumes of vaccines are available for delivery, payment is due through the AVAT arrangement.
3. For Ghana, 16,918,600 doses of the Jansen vaccines were allocated, and AVAT was to deliver these vaccines periodically per the agreed delivery schedule, as and when we needed them.
The reason for the agreed number of doses was as a result of:
• the national policy of attaining herd immunity by immunising 21 million people in Ghana,
• avoid wastage, expiration and
• the difficulties, globally, in getting access to vaccines at the time.
4. Due to the unexpected hesitancy, cold chain storage challenges, spontaneous donations as well as manufacturer’s storage difficulties, the ministry, in June 2022, was compelled to agree on a delivery schedule for the remaining 11,052 million doses to be delivered from June to December 2022. According to the schedule, 1.6 million doses were to be delivered from June to December 2022 to complete the allocation. However, this process was delayed because of the aforementioned challenges.
Currently, the ministry requested and has received the June allocation which was delivered in January 2023.
5. In the meantime, the ministry continues to work with the AVAT for a possible review of the contract, and would want to assure the public of our commitment to work in the supreme interest of the public.
6. Covid-19 is not over and the government will still require some vaccines for continuous vaccination as some countries around the world are experiencing fresh waves.
7. We hereby encourage the general public to patronise the ongoing immunisation programme.
8. Thank you.