The Africa Center for Health Policy Research and Analysis has cast doubt on the government’s intention to establish a National Vaccine Institute as part of efforts to build a local vaccine manufacturing industry.
The idea has come about due to the challenges Ghana has faced in its attempt to acquire COVID-19 vaccines.
The Executive Director of the Africa Center for Health Policy Research and Analysis, Dr. Thomas Anaba, said the government has made such promises in the past, but none has materialized yet.
He said the planned National Vaccine Institute can only be achieved in about 15 years, hence the government must in the short to medium term form strategic partnerships with other countries for the manufacture of vaccines.
“I was skeptical about the 88 hospitals and research centers, and indeed they have not yet materialized. So how do I believe in something that we are going to spend $25 million on? Let’s go in and partner with other countries to get the vaccine made for us while we think of a long-term strategic plan maybe, 15 years; so that by 15-years’ time, Ghana has its own laboratory that can manufacture vaccines,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo during his 26th COVID-19 address noted that the Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng-led committee tasked to investigate the prospects of Ghana manufacturing its own vaccine recommended that a National Vaccine Institute is built to lead efforts in research and manufacture of vaccines locally.
The president said the government is committed to injecting seed funding of US$25 million this year into the whole enterprise.
“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 government has committed to injecting seed funding of some twenty-five million United States dollars (US$25 million) this year into this whole enterprise,” Nana Addo said.
The plan will be one of the most ambitious ones set by the government in the health sector.