COVID-19 vaccine production plant commence in Ghana

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has cut the sod for the development of DEKs Vaccines Ltd, a privet sector-led consortium of Ghanaian pharmaceutical companies.

According to President Akufo-Addo, the development of the vaccine production plant “will assist our country realize the dream of turning into self-sufficient manufacture of vaccines”.

Speaking at the sod-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, 18th April 2023, at Media, in the Ga West Municipality, the President indicated that the imaginative and prescient to manufacture  vaccines in Ghana started on twenty eighth February, 2021, in update 24 of what has grown to be called the “Fellow Ghanaians” collection of addresses to the country.

“The vaccine nationalism which was played out by the advance world, with the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, supposed that we needed to take urgent, important steps in the direction of ensuring that in no way once more could we be sufferers or pawns of the global vaccine order. It become vital that we took our future into our very own hands,” he said.

To this end, President Akufo-Addo indicated that he formed a committee, under the chairmanship of the previous Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, to formulate a concrete course of action in the direction of home vaccine improvement and production.

This course of action, he explained, culminated the announcement of the establishment, in July 2021, of the National Vaccine Institute, with seed investment of $25 million from the European Investment Bank.

“Indeed, a few months ago, on 14th February 2023, the National Vaccine Institute Bill 2022 become enacted by Parliament, for which I gave my assent, and whose Board of Directors will quickly be outdoored,” the President said.

He continued, “Its establishment enabled the National Vaccine Institute to work in unison with Ministries, Departments and Agencies in Ghana, to reinforce our capability to be self-reliant in the manufacturing of vaccines, and convey everybody to this gathering where development of DEKs Vaccines Ltd will quickly begin.”

Whilst appreciating the COVAX, AU and AVATT in COVID-19 vaccine deliver initiatives, President Akufo-Addo indicated that Ghana is likewise venturing into vaccine improvement and production together along with her sister African nations of Rwanda and Senegal, so as to emerge as vaccine production hubs in sub-Saharan Africa.

“The National Vaccine Institute will co-ordinate and facilitate the capability of DEKS Vaccines Ltd and home pharmaceutical companies, together with Atlantic LifeSciences, a firm running under Government`s 1-District-1-Factory Programme, which I commissioned in April 2022, to fill, finish and package mRNA COVID-19 and other vaccines together with the ones towards malaria and tuberculosis,” the President said.

“In the medium-time period, this (five) years, the goal is to continue the establishment of more home grown vaccine production plant in the country to manufacture vaccines to satisfy WHO GMP standards, with the long-term goal being to provide a candidate vaccine in ten (10) years, using progressive technologies,” he added.

President Akufo-Addo thanked the German Government, its agency GIZ, the Consortium of International Partners, the European Investment Bank, which provided the five-million-euro (€5 million) to kickstart the project, and the European Union, that have been supporting Ghana on this endeavor.

He additionally thanked the chairperson and contributors of the Presidential Committee on Vaccine Manufacturing “for the outstanding job they’ve carried out thus far in bringing us to this point.”

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