Dr. Nsiah Asare

The Committee set up by President Nana Akufo-Addo to look into the possibility of Ghana producing her own COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines has set up an ambitious target of a locally manufactured vaccine within two years.

Though the Committee says Ghana is seeking International Property Right to perform what scientists call fill and finish for now, it is hopeful Ghana will be able to produce her own vaccines in the next 10 years.

Giving a presentation and insight into what the Committee has been doing, Head of Virology Department of Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and the Secretary to the Presidential Committee on Vaccine Development and Manufacture, Dr William Kwame Ampofo, noted that the path to developing a vaccine is complex but Ghana is on course to achieve her target.

Dr. William Kwame Ampofo

He said these at a stakeholders meeting in Accra with members of the Presidential Press Corps.

In an interview with Adom News, the Presidential Adviser on Health and a Member of the Committee, Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, said the Committee will send to Parliament, for the proposed National Vaccine Institute to get a legal backing so that all governments will ensure it’s success.

Dr Nsiah-Asare noted that the next two years, the target is to build capacity to enable the production of already existing vaccines on the market what is referred to in science as ‘fill and finish’.

Dr Nsiah-Asare explained that this will be a private sector led initiative with government playing the coordinating and facilitating role and that some local manufacturing companies have already formed a consortium to raise funds for the manufacturing of vaccines.

He explained further that three private pharmaceutical organisations, Dan Adams, Ernest Chemist and Kinapharma (DEK Consultium) have initiated processes towards the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine production equipment and government is offering them all the support necessary for same.

He said some other local and foreign manufacturing companies have also sent proposals to the Presidential Committee on Vaccine Development and Manufacture, to be considered and be part of Ghana’s quest to produce her own vaccines.

The Committee has budgeted $200m, the funds needed in the next 10 years for Ghana to produce Vaccines for COVID and other diseases.

It would be recalled that President Akufo-Addo, in his 24th COVID-19 address to the nation on Sunday, February 28, 2021, announced the formation of the Vaccine Production Committee under the chairmanship of the former Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, the world-renowned scientist, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng.

Prof Frimpong Boateng

The Committee is meeting stakeholders and is expected to soon meet the Parliamentary Select Committees on Health; Trade and Industry as well as Science and Environment before laying for Parliament’s approval, the establishment of the National Vaccine Institute.

In the address, the President stated that his vision is to ensure that Ghana produces COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines locally.

Others in attendance included Dr Anarfi Asamoah Baah, Co-ordinator of Ghana’s Coronavirus Response Programme and member of the Presidential Committee.