President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has announced that Ghana will this year inject a seed funding of US$25m into the establishment of a National Vaccine Institute to spearhead the development of vaccines.
According to the President, the move comes after Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng Committee which was charged to investigate Ghana’s potential as a vaccine manufacturing hub to meet national and regional needs, recommended the setting up of the Institute.
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Speaking on Sunday evening on his 26th address to the nation on measures taken so far to fight COVID-19, President Akufo-Addo stated that the Institute will be charged with delivering six clear mandates:
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 manufacture and establishing a permanent national secretariat to coordinate vaccine development and manufacture.
President Akufo-Addo further said indications are that, in the course of the third quarter of this year, the availability of vaccines for our country will ramp up.
“We are expecting, through the COVAX facility, one million Pfizer vaccines from the United States of America, two hundred and twenty-nine thousand, six hundred and seventy (229,670) Pfizer vaccines from the African Union, and two hundred and forty-nine thousand (249,000) AstraZeneca vaccines from the United Kingdom. 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.”
He added: “We have, as such, upgraded our national, regional and district cold chain facilities in order to widen our access to vaccines like Pfizer and Modena, that require minus seventy degrees Celsius (-70℃) cold chains. These include sixteen (16) ultra-low cold freezers, fifty-eight (58) units of ultralow freezers, fifty (50) normal vaccine refrigerators, three hundred (300) boxes to be filled with ice packs, three hundred (300) ice packed freezers, ten (10) cold chain vans, and one hundred and twenty (120) temperature monitoring devices. I thank, in particular, UPS, the American multinational shipping, receiving and supply chain management company, for their generous donation towards this development.”