Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, has touched on Ghana’s struggles with the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines. The plans by the government to get more vaccines are being hampered by high demand globally, the Minister said.
But he assured that Ghana is lobbying to get more vaccines despite the challenge. “We are having challenges in supplies just like across the globe. There are those who have money invested in the development, and they are keeping on to the stocks.”
“Last week if you heard, Italy blocked consignments that were bound for Australia. Stocks are just not available, but we are working with networks and the president is also helping us with this.”
Ghana was the first recipient of COVID-19 vaccine doses distributed by COVAX, a global vaccine sharing initiative. Ghana took delivery of 600,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India on February 24.
This was followed by a donation of 50,000 vaccines from the Indian government. The government expects to take delivery of 2 million AstraZeneca vaccines by the end of May also from the COVAX facility.
COVAX hopes to deliver at least 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021 to ease procurement challenges and ensure equitable distribution of the vaccine. Concerns with hoarding of the vaccine have been ever-present since the development of vaccines begun.
Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, noted in February that rich countries with just 16 percent of the world’s population had purchased 60 percent of available vaccine supplies.
Ghana targeted 570,000 people in the first phase of the vaccination, but indications are that it will exceed this target. So far over 200,000 persons have been vaccinated in Ghana. The country’s ultimate target is to vaccinate 20 million persons so as to achieve herd immunity.