Government is expected to ramp up the supply of COVID-19 vaccines by the third quarter of 2021.
The country is expecting a total of 18, 478,670 (18.4 million) doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the course of the third quarter of the year from the governments of the United States, United Kingdom and other donor agencies.
That include 17 million single dose per person Johnson & Johnson vaccines through the African Medicine Platform, one million Pfizer vaccines from the United States of America through the COVAX facility, 229,670 Pfizer vaccines from the African Union, and 249,000 AstraZeneca vaccines from the United Kingdom.
President Akufo-Addo announced this in his 26th televised address to the nation on Sunday night, on enhanced measures against the spread of the Coronavirus.
The country, over the past three weeks, has witnessed increase in the Coronavirus infections in Accra and Kumasi, especially from the deadly Delta Variant.
The country’s active cases dropped to about 1, 000 some weeks ago but surged to 4,074 as at July 21,2021, with 36 more deaths, bringing the death toll to 819.
Meanwhile, the country’s Covid-19 mass inoculation campaign has witnessed a slow pace due to the global shortage of vaccines with just 405,971 persons receiving full dose of two jabs whilst 865,422 have received a single dose since March this year when the exercise started.
In all, 1,271,393 doses have been administered so far as against the 20 million adult population targeted by the government for vaccination.
President Akufo-Addo said government was upgrading the national, regional and district cold chain facilities in order to widen access to vaccines like Pfizer and Modena that required minus seventy degrees Celsius (-70℃) cold chains.
These include 16 ultra-low cold freezers, 58 units of ultra-low freezers, 50 normal vaccine refrigerators, 300 boxes to be filled with ice packs, 300 ice packed freezers, 10 cold chain vans, and 120 temperature monitoring devices.
The President thanked the UPS, the American multi-national shipping, receiving and supply chain management company, for their generous donation towards this development.
President Akufo-Addo stressed that all the vaccines to be used in the country had been certified as safe-for-use by the Food and Drugs Authority and, therefore should be no hesitancy amongst the population who are yet to be vaccinated.
“The global shortage of vaccines means that we must develop our capacity to produce our own vaccines domestically, and reduce our dependence on foreign supplies.
“We must be self-sufficient in this regard in the future, and prepare ourselves better to deal with any such occurrences in the future,” the President stated.
To that end, the President said, the Committee he established, under the leadership of the world-renowned Ghanaian scientist, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, to investigate Ghana’s potential as a vaccine manufacturing hub, had presented its preliminary report.
The committee, amongst others, recommended the establishment of a National Vaccine Institute to spearhead the development of vaccines locally.
Therefore, Government has committed to inject seed funding of some US$25 million this year towards that enterprise.
President Akufo-Addo underscored the need to adhere strictly to the Covid-19 safely protocols to minimize the spread of the virus.