On Sunday, July 25, President Akufo-Addo addressed the nation on measures his administration plans to put in place to intensify the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
In his 26th address, the President announced the intended establishment of a National Vaccine Institute. Under the recommendation of world-renowned Ghanaian scientist, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng. The president mentioned, the establishment has become necessary given;
i. The global shortage of vaccines
ii. The viral spread of a third wave given the Delta Variant.
According to Akuffo Addo, based on the report of the Ghana Health Service, our current total number of active cases stands at four thousand, five hundred and twenty-one (4,521) with the daily infection rate for the past week rising to three hundred and fifty (350) cases. He stressed that “forty (40) more people have died from COVID over the last ten (10) weeks, bringing the cumulative number of deaths to eight hundred and twenty-three (823) since the onset of the pandemic.”
The President explained that Ghana should expect, “through the COVAX facility and the African Union, one million, two hundred and twenty-nine thousand, six hundred and seventy (1,229,670) doses of the Pfizer vaccines from the Government of the United States of America, and two hundred and forty-nine thousand (249,000) AstraZeneca vaccines from the Government of the United Kingdom. “
The government is also expected to procure “seventeen million (17 million) single dose per person of the Johnson & Johnson vaccines, through the African Medicine Supply Platform, in this quarter.”
Despite the government’s plan to procure this large amount of vaccines, President Akuffo intends to provide alternatives. To prevent Ghana’s over-reliance on foreign vaccine supplies given the worldwide shortage of vaccines.
“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,” President Akufo Addo said.
“We must be self-sufficient in this regard in the future, and prepare ourselves better to deal with any such occurrences in the future,” he further said.
To attain self-sufficiency, Akufo Addo through the recommendation of Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng plans to establish a vaccine manufacturing hub, “to meet national and regional needs.” This hub shall be known as the National Vaccine Institute.
He further stated that Government plans to “inject seed funding of some twenty-five million United States dollars (US$25 million) this year into this whole enterprise.”
He emphasised that there must be strict observance of all safety protocols at social gatherings to curb the spread of the virus. The safety protocols include:
- The mandatory wearing of masks
- Social events like weddings, parties, and funerals must be held in open-air spaces
- Duration of social gatherings must be limited to two (2) hours.
- Observance of the one (1) metre social distancing rule.
- Avoidance of handshakes
- Ban on all post-event receptions, particularly related to weddings and funerals.