President Nana Akufo-Addo
Ghana is set to sign an agreement with the German government to commence the production of COVID-19 vaccines locally.
President Akufo-Addo said the agreement is expected to be signed on February 16, 2022 when he meets officials of Pfizer and other vaccine manufacturing companies.
“The signature is due for the 16th. We want to be able to manufacture our vaccines here, and we are going to sign the agreement in Germany for a continental project which will involve Senegal.”
He made the disclosure on Monday when he addressed a delegation sent to him by the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II to invite him to the 5th anniversary celebration of the enthronement of the queen mother of the Asante Kingdom (Asantehemaa), Nana Ama Konadu Yiadom III scheduled for February 6 and 16, 2022.
The President assured the delegation he will attend the event on February 6, and will travel to Germany to sign the agreement for the production of vaccines in Ghana.
“The 16th date is a problem; I am due to be in Germany for the AU, EU, Brussels summit. On the same 16th, I will be signing the agreement which forms part our plans to beginning the local production of vaccines in Ghana,” he said.
The presidential vaccine manufacturing committee in Ghana has said it is targeting the production of COVID-19 vaccines in Ghana by 2023.
In August last year, as part of stakeholder consultations towards the production of COVID-19 vaccines in Ghana, the Coordinator for Ghana’s Coronavirus Response Programme, Dr. Anarfi Asamoah Baah, who is also a member of the committee, had said the target was achievable.
He said there were two main challenges the state was aiming to meet in relation to vaccine production in Ghana; the ability to produce COVID-19 vaccines already in use in the world and the investment into research and development needed to be able to develop vaccines to counter future pandemics and diseases.
The government plans to invest $25 million as seed money towards the establishment of a National Vaccine Institute to spearhead the country’s efforts at producing vaccines locally.
The institute will also work towards Research & Development for vaccines in Ghana and building the human resource base for vaccine discovery, development, and manufacture.
The establishment of the institute forms part of recommendations by a committee established by the government to formulate a concrete plan for vaccine development and manufacturing in Ghana.
The Presidential Vaccine Manufacturing Committee has already indicated that Ghana would need $200 million to fully manufacture COVID-19 vaccines locally.
The project is envisioned to be a private-public partnership arrangement.
Africa is almost totally dependent on vaccine producers outside the continent, as it produces just one per cent of the vaccines it administers.
President Akufo-Addo announced the formation of a Vaccine Production Committee in his 24th address delivered on Sunday, February 28, 2021, to the nation on measures his administration was putting in place to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu