Ghana, South Africa hoping to team up to produce vaccines

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said Ghana has taken the lead among African countries to ensure that coronavirus vaccines are produced locally.

Mr Akufo-Addo said African countries could no longer rely on other countries around the globe for vaccines to inoculate the people..

His comments came on the back of a call made by President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa to African countries to prioritize efforts in producing their own vaccines.

Mr Ramaphosa said the best way to vaccinate the entire population on the continent is for African countries to start producing their own vaccines.

Speaking at the Ghana-South Africa business forum in Accra on Saturday December 4, he said “The fastest way to vaccinate our population is if we are allowed to manufacture our own vaccines and at the same time build our own domestic pharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities.

“As African leaders, we have to adopt strategies for a resilient recovery and one of the best ways of doing so is if we manufacture our own vaccines.”

Responding to his comment, President Akufo-Addo said “We ourselves have made the decision, we are told that we have entered the era of pandemics and the next round of the pandemic is, we are going to be dependent on people who hoard vaccines when the world needs them.

“We are determined this time round to develop our own capacity to do. We have agreed to set up a National Vaccine Institute which is going to lead the process in Ghana. To that extent, we are in full support of the position you have taken. We are hoping that we can work together in these areas for the future.”

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Mr Akufo-Addo had said earlier that, the global shortage of coronavirus vaccines meant Ghana must develop its capacity to produce its own vaccines domestically, and reduce the dependence on foreign supplies.

He said Ghana must be self-sufficient in this regard in the future, and prepare better to deal with any such occurrences in the future.

To this end, he said in an address to the nation on Sunday July 25 that “the Committee I established, under the leadership of the world-renowned Ghanaian scientist, 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 which, amongst others, recommends the establishment of a National Vaccine Institute to spearhead this development.

“Government has committed to inject seed funding of some twenty-five million United States dollars (US$25 million) this year into this whole enterprise.”

By Laud Nartey||Ghana