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COVID-19: Akufo-Addo announces 18.5m vaccine doses by third quarter

President Nana Akufo-Addo is expecting up to 18.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines as he raises concerns about a third wave in Ghana.

The government is making arrangements to have these vaccines by the end of September to vaccinate the entire adult population by the end of 2021.

“We are expecting, through the COVAX facility and the African Union 1,229,670 doses of the Pfizer vaccines from the government of the United States of America, and 249,000 AstraZeneca vaccines from the government of the United Kingdom.

“Government is also in the process of procuring 17 million single dose per person Johnson & Johnson vaccines, through the African Medicine Supply Platform, in this quarter,” President Akufo disclosed in his 26th update on measures taken to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana.

Ahead of the arrival of the vaccines, the government is expanding its storage capacity especially for brands that require very cold temperatures unlike the AstraZeneca vaccines used for the first phase of Ghana’s vaccination programme.

“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, 58 units of ultra-low freezers, 50 normal vaccine refrigerators, 300 boxes to be filled with ice packs, 300 ice packed freezers, 10 cold chain vans, and 120 temperature monitoring devices,” President Akufo-Addo announced.

$25 million investment for the local production of vaccines

President Akufo-Addo revealed that the committee established under the leadership of 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.

Amongst others, the committee recommended the establishment of a National Vaccine Institute.

“Government has committed to injecting seed funding of some US$25 million this year into this whole enterprise,” Mr Akufo-Addo disclosed.

The institute is set to spearhead the country’s efforts at producing vaccines locally and as the world is hit with a global shortage.

The Institute will be charged with delivering six clear mandates.

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.

In the short term, the Frimpong-Boateng Committee is facilitating the capacity of domestic pharmaceutical companies to fill and finish COVID-19 vaccines.

Meanwhile, 1,271,393 vaccine doses have been administered, with 865,422 persons having received a single jab.

A total of  405,971 persons have received their full dose of two (2) jabs.

The government is expecting up to 18million doses of vaccine to continue its vaccination programme by the end of the third quarter.

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