Ghana to produce vaccines in 5 years –President

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has revealed Ghana’s vision to develop and produce vaccines in the next five years.

The desire, he explained, is to achieve a universal coverage of vaccination and also contain the spread of the virus “whether rural or urban and nobody will be left out.”

President Akufo-Addo gave the assurance in response to complaints that the COVID- 19 vaccines were concentrated in urban  areas, when he met the Nzema Manle Council at Azeleonu in the Ellembelle District of the Western Region, on  Friday, as part of his two-day tour of the Western Region.

“Cabinet is determined that we have the capacity of making our own vaccines here. The National Vaccine Manufacturing Committee, chaired by Prof. Frimpong Boateng, is working assiduously to give us a roadmap for us to develop the vaccine in the period of five years. We’ve gone far. There is no doubt about it…. our target is that we have more vaccines,” he added.

He reported that two-thirds of the population was adults and that the vaccination would continue to target the urban population.

He said “Nobody is being left out to get the vaccine; it’s not a deliberate policy of government to deny people access. We are more determined to vaccinate the entire population. Germany is getting us 1.5 million doses of  AstraZeneca, United States of America is also giving us a significant donation while British government will give us Johnson and Johnson vaccines.

“Hopefully, we’ll get more than 4.5 million vaccines to reinforce the vaccination of 20 million people by September.”

The President said, the problem of the COVID -19 pandemic in Ghana, no doubt, affected  the urban towns known as the hotspots, namely Ashanti, Volta, Eastern and Western regions where there were spikes in infections.

“The Task Force decided that first, we concentrate on the hotspots -unfortunately, the roll out of vaccination was affected by the worldwide shortages. Those who had money have been hoarding them ….and we have not learnt our lessons with Ebola. If we learnt lessons, 10 years ago, we should by now be making our own vaccines,” he said.

Emphasising on the importance of vaccination, President Akufo-Addo complained that the Ghana Health Service (GHS) data indicated that 98 per cent of Ghana’s population, who were infected were those unvaccinated with just two per cent vaccinated.

He appealed to the clergy, chiefs, queen mothers and opinion leaders to lead the campaign in promoting vaccination to contain the pandemic in Ghana.

The President told the chiefs that the government had proposed to the Omanhene of Western Nzema, Awulae Annor Adjaye III, as the board chair of the Petroleum Hub to be established in Jomoro enclave.

“This is a major economic development which will impact on job creation. It’s a big project and Awuale Annor Adjaye will help achieve that goal of improving our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the volume of taxes and revenue,” President Akufo-Addo told the gathering.

The President of the Nzema Manle Council, Awulae Amihere Kpanyinli III, applauded efforts to construct harbours and the petroleum hub to promote the maritime economy, stating “this must be sustained”.

He added “We thank you for your leadership for managing the COVID- 19 pandemic. You and your team led this country to do the best so that the fatalities were reduced.”

FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, AZULEONU

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