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First batch of locally-produced COVID-19 vaccines to be ready in 2024

Ghana would, by early 2024, produce its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines in the country, the Director of Allied Health, Minister of Health (MoH), Dr Ignatius Awinibuno, has disclosed.

The 10 years roadmap signed project supported by GIZ and the European Union was estimated at 2.84 million Euros.

Disclosing this during the launch of the Institutional and Technical Strengthening of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) project yesterday in Accra, he said it was aimed at making Ghana a Pan-African vaccine manufacturing hub with the FDA performing full regulatory oversight of the local vaccine production.

Launching the project, the Minister of Health, in a speech read on his behalf byDrAwinibunosaidhealth systems and economies had been ravaged by COVID-19, which affected public health and socio-economic lives.

“It is encouraging that, at least, the world now has COVID-19 vaccines to effectively fight the pandemic, but there has been inadequate deployment in Africa due to limited manufacturing capacity and global supply chain challenges,” he said.

DrAwinibunoexplained that Africa’s rich resource base for potential vaccine development and manufacture had rarely been utilised, and it was time for the country to exploit long-term vision of building domestic capacities towards vaccine self-reliance.

Stating that “there is the need for Ghana to venture into the manufacture of vaccines for sufficient national use as well as a manufacturing hub in the sub-region”.

DrAwinibunofurther appealed to all stakeholders to collaborate effectively to support the implementation of the National Vaccines Policy in order to achieve our collective broad national health goal.

In a brief remark by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of FDA, Delese Mimi Darko, she underscored that the vaccine manufacturing hub was important in the country.

“We would be the first country to have such a hub, and we would be working hand in hand with Rwandans since we have a good regulatory body such as FDA to ensure safety and quality,” she said.

Mrs Darko stressed that because vaccines would be produced in the country there was a need for the FDA to get a higher standards laboratory to be able to test for the first batch of the vaccines.

“The money would help us get more equipment for the lab, train more staff as well as the Rwandans in order to produce good vaccines which could be sold across the country,” she stated.

GIZ-Ghana Country Director, Regina Bauerochse Barbosa, said GIZ’s support for the project aligned with Ghana’s prioritisation of the pharmaceutical industry as a key industry to develop.

“To safeguard Ghana’s goal to become a vaccine manufacturing country, GIZ is furnishing and equipping the office complex of the soon-to-be-established National Vaccine Institute,” she said.

The Ambassador of the European Union to Ghana, Mr Irchad Razaaly, pledged their support to facilitate Ghana’s efforts in regulatory strengthening, access to finance, research and development, supply chain and the private sector.

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