Nana Addo gives Jan. 2024 timeline for commercial production of vaccines in Ghana

Ghana will begin the commercial production of vaccines in January 2024, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stated.

He says a bill will soon be presented to Parliament in that regard for the establishment of the National Vaccine Institute to commence the first phase of the production.

Presenting the 2022 State of the Nation Address, President Akufo-Addo said plans are far advanced for the local production of vaccines.

“The Presidential Vaccine Manufacturing Committee, which I set up to respond to this obvious deficiency, has put in place a comprehensive strategy for domestic vaccine production, and the establishment of a National Vaccine Institute to implement the strategy, which will enable us to begin the first phase of commercial production in January 2024.”

He pleaded with the Speaker to lead efforts for the approval of the Bill if it is brought to the House.

Ghana, alongside Rwanda and Senegal, is partnering with German biotechnology company, BioNTech SE, to fill, finish, and package BioNTech mRNA vaccines in Africa.

This is expected to be the first step in the chain of domestic vaccine production, which will improve vaccine supply in Africa.

The agreement came after a meeting in Marburg, Germany, on Wednesday,  where President Akufo-Addo, together with Presidents Macky Sall and Paul Kagame of the Republics of Senegal and Rwanda respectively, witnessed the presentation of a BioNtech modular production facility solution for the production of mRNA vaccines in Africa.

The government plans to invest $25 million as seed money towards the establishment of a National Vaccine Institute to spearhead the country’s efforts at producing vaccines locally.

The Institute will also work towards Research & Development for vaccines in Ghana and building the human resource base for vaccine discovery, development, and manufacture.

The establishment of the institute forms part of recommendations by a committee established by the government to formulate a concrete plan for vaccine development and manufacturing in Ghana.

The Presidential Vaccine Manufacturing Committee has already indicated that Ghana would need $200 million to fully manufacture COVID-19 vaccines locally.

The project is envisioned to be a private-public partnership arrangement.

Africa is almost totally dependent on vaccine producers outside the continent, as it produces just 1 percent of the vaccines it administers.