The Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Nana Akufo-Addo, has hinted at frantic efforts being made by some member states to produce COVID-19 vaccines.
The ECOWAS Chair says the move is aimed at tackling the situation at hand rather than depending solely on foreign aid.
Speaking at the opening session of the 59th ECOWAS summit in Accra on Saturday, 19th June, 2021, President Akufo-Addo said the pandemic has had a devastating effect on economies in the sub-region, hence the need for close collaboration among member states to address the concern.
“All the countries in the region have taken delivery of some vaccines, supplemented by procurement by some member states. I thank foreign friends of the community who have contributed to funding the initiative.”
“We note, however, that the quantities received are wholly insufficient. We must thus continue to work on the purchase and production of vaccines in our region. We have to encourage members of our community such as Nigeria, Senegal, and my own country Ghana who are making the efforts to produce their own vaccines. We cannot afford to be naked the next time.”
We have difficulties with vaccination; Nana Addo admits struggle to access vaccines
President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, has stated that Ghana is facing challenges with its vaccination programme due to the difficulty in getting access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Speaking at an SDG forum at the Jubilee House recently, President Akufo-Addo disclosed that the government has put together a team, led by former Environment, Science, and Technology Minister, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, to work out modalities that will see to the production of vaccines in Ghana.
“We have obvious difficulties as far as the vaccination programme is concerned. Unfortunately, we are the victims of this worldwide shortage of vaccines that poor and less advantaged nations are experiencing by not having access to the vaccines.”
“So, that of course is a major challenge for us, the procurement logistics and the issues involved in it.”
Minority files an urgent motion for bi-partisan probe into Sputnik-V deal
Ghana’s attempt to procure additional vaccines from Russia for its national inoculation exercise through middlemen at a higher cost has generated controversy in the country.
The Minority in Parliament has tabled an urgent motion calling on the house to commission a bi-partisan probe into the procurement of the Sputnik-V vaccines.
Ghana took delivery of 650,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX facility in addition to 50,000 AstraZeneca vaccines from the Indian government, and 165,000 from MTN for its mass vaccination program.
The country has since been struggling to get more vaccines to immunize its target of 20 million people.
‘I had an obligation to protect lives’ – Health Minister justifies Sputnik-V deal
Meanwhile, the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, has justified the procurement of Sputnik-V vaccines despite concerns about the cost involved.
“I had an obligation to try to see how we can arrive at our herd immunity. When we started looking for vaccines to procure, intermediaries were not part of our agenda. We were looking at what we will get from COVAX. We could not have waited between March and August because we were in the second wave, and we were dying more than when we had the disease in 2020.”
“Basic economics will tell you that in terms of scarcity, the market is the suppliers’ market. He or she dictates the price, not the buyer. I am surprised. We all learned these things at O-level, so why should I be a subject of ridicule?”he asked.