Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the president of the republic, officially opened an ultramodern office building that would work as the strategic coordinating body for vaccine development and production in Ghana.
It will be recalled that on February 28, 2021, President Akufo-Addo established a Presidential Committee on Vaccine Development and Manufacturing to implement the revived National Strategic COVID 19 Response Plan, 2020 to 2024, as well as to give concrete expression to the vision of becoming self-sufficient in the domestic production of vaccines.
According to President Akufo-Addo, “not only did COVID 19 disrupt health systems and ravaged economies, but it also laid bare the vulnerability of countries and exposed our dependent on developed countries for the acquisition of vaccines.”
Explaining further, he said, “our nation’s attainment of low-middle income status also meant that we have to transition fully from the Global vaccine alliance support by 2027. Simply put, the world was putting us on notice till we start taking responsibility for our routine vaccine needs within four years which is estimated at some USD 30million per year.”
He added that, “with limited bargaining power to negotiate directly with COVID 19 vaccine manufacturers, government relied on two multilateral initiatives to procure COVID 19 vaccines, the COVAX facility, and the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team at that to receive enough vaccines for 20% of the population and also on direct purchases of vaccines from the international market.”
The creation of the National Vaccine Institute and the accompanying laws, which are aimed at making Ghana the pan-African hub for vaccines, was a collaborative effort with key partners, including private sector pharmaceutical companies, academic and research institutions, GIZ, The EU, and the World Health Organization.
He stated that the medium-term objective is to complete and package COVID 19, Malaria and Tuberculosis Vaccines within two years of the short-term objective “is to continue the establishment of more domestic vaccine manufacturing plants, in the country to manufacture vaccines to meet the WHO, GNP standards with the long-term target being to produce a Candidate Vaccine in ten years using innovative technologies.”
President Akufo-Addo inaugurated the Governing Board of the National Vaccine Institute at the Jubilee House in accordance with the provisions of the National Vaccines Act, Article 1097 of 2023.
Dr. Baffour-Awuah, who represents the Ministry of Health, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation, the Attorney General’s office, the Food and Drugs Authority, the Ghana Standards Authority, and the President of the Pharmaceutical Association, Manu, make up the Governing Board, which is presided over by renowned former WHO Deputy Chief Dr. Anarfi Asamoa-Baah.