The Presidential Vaccine Manufacturing Committee says Ghana will need $200 million to fully manufacture COVID-19 vaccines in Ghana. The Committee led by Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng says the project will be a private-public partnership arrangement aimed at getting all involved.
Speaking at a stakeholder workshop for members of the Presidential Press Corps in Accra, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng said some local pharmaceutical companies are already on board to begin the process.
“The consortium of three pharmaceutical companies; DANADAMS, Ernest Chemists, and Kinapharma have gone ahead to pay a deposit for a plant so that we can produce the vaccine in Ghana. But if we want to do that, you have to order the equipment, but if you place an order, it takes 14 months before it is delivered. The installation, tech-transfer, bulk supply of vaccines from elsewhere will take about two years.”
“What is happening now is that our partners from Germany have helped us to locate a plant that was delivered to a company in Europe, but they did not use it. We know where it is, that is why the government has given an off-take to place an order for that plant. We hope that it will arrive by end of this year, installed, and then by next year we will be able to do a fit and finished vaccine in Ghana”, he added.
National Vaccine Institute
The government of Ghana is set to invest some US$25 million as seed money towards the establishment of a National Vaccine Institute to spearhead the country’s efforts at producing vaccines locally.
The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, disclosed this during his 26th update on measures taken by the government to reduce the rising cases of COVID-19 in the country.
He pointed out that the establishment of the institute forms part of recommendations by a committee established by the government to formulate a concrete plan for vaccine development and manufacturing in Ghana.
“We must be self-sufficient in this regard in the future, and prepare ourselves better to deal with any such occurrences in the future. To this end, 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.”
The Institute, according to the President, will be charged with delivering six clear mandates:
- Establishing local vaccine manufacturing plants;
2. Deepening Research & Development (R&D) for vaccines in Ghana;
3. Upgrading and strengthening the FDA;
4. Forging bilateral and multilateral partnerships for vaccine manufacturing in various areas, such as funding, clinical trials, technology transfer, licensing, and assignment of intellectual property rights;
5. Building the human resource base for vaccine discovery, development, and manufacture; and
6. Establishing a permanent national secretariat to coordinate vaccine development and manufacture
The President has already admitted that the country is facing challenges with its vaccination program due to the difficulty in getting access to COVID-19 vaccines.
He had earlier explained that the global politics on manufacturing, procurement, and distribution is making the situation even more difficult.
The new Institute is thus expected to tackle the government’s difficulty in procuring vaccines for the populace in Ghana and beyond the near future.
By: Sammi Wiafe