Support pharmaceutical manufacturers to produce COVID-19 vaccines locally

It is worthy of note that any significant occurrence in the life of an individual, a community, a nation or across the globe must cause a new direction of thinking.

Such thinking must be one which addresses the challenges that might have arisen as a result of the occurrence of the situation or situations. Such is the situation with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The disease has brought in its trail challenges that must be tackled in various ways and at the top of the list is a remedy to conquer it.

Happily, the remedy now is a vaccine, which is said to be 95 per cent potent to fight the disease.

Currently, there are the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca and NovavaxCOVID-19 vaccines available.

This means that nations which love to protect their citizens have to procure these from their sources at a huge cost to their national kitty.

Most of the time, vaccines are produced by the metropolitan nations with a few middle-income nations outside Africa like India, Argentina and Mexico who are said to have sufficient capacity to produce vaccines.

In Africa, it is said that only South Africa, a “developed” country in Africa, produces vaccines.

Our information is that generally, large scale vaccines production are done by private companies which sell them under contract or producers in, some cases, make provisions for access in particular markets.

If these arrangements are meant for securing funding or to allow production to take place in particular countries as is claimed, then definitely, such countries, the Ghanaian Times believes, would be where the vaccine-producing companies hope to optimise profitability.

What it means is that if nothing is done by African countries to have their own vaccine-manufacturing factories, especially in the case of COVID-19, they would spend much of their resources to procure vaccines for their people.

For instance, reports say that at £4 per vaccine, Ghana would have to spend over £70million to be able to procure vaccines for 17.6 million for its 30 million people.

This is why the Ghanaian Times thinks the government should listen to the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Ghana (PMAG) concerning its request for support to equip some local companies to produce vaccines, particularly those urgently needed to fight COVID-19.

The Executive Secretary of PMAG is quoted in the media as saying that “Currently, we have one company – Transatlantic, a subsidiary of Pharmanova, that is coming up with a vaccine-manufacturing factory, which is fantastic because whatever vaccine is manufactured, we can do so in the country through counter-manufacturing, or, we can take the bulk vaccine, bottle and sell here, which would be more affordable to Ghanaians.”

When the experts speak, lay men can only verify the veracity of what is put out or simply concur.

To that end, we wish to echo the request for both financial and non-financial support for the association to make their dream come true.

We know that once COVID-19 is conquered, the ‘new normal’ would give way to just the normal and Ghanaians would have a new lease of life that takes away all the stress and pressures from them so that they can resume meaningful lives.

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