Government in January indicated that plans were underway to procure 17.6m doses of COVID-19 vaccines for Ghanaians by June this year.
Addressing a press conference in parliament in Accra, the Minority stated that following the President’s assurance of the procurement of additional vaccines, this year’s budget made an allocation of US$420m for the procurement of more than 42 million jabs of vaccines targeted at vaccinating 20 million Ghanaians by year end.
“The health needs of Ghanaians must remain paramount in all considerations of this government and failure is not an option. If funding is becoming a challenge for government, it should consider partnering the private sector in a PPP arrangement to source for these vaccines and supply them to public,” he said.
The country has so far received 966,850 doses of vaccines from sources including the Covax initiative.
“We cannot continue to depend on generic research results of the impact of vaccines on general populations. We must conduct our own localised research in order to have country specific results that will inform our strategy and tactical deployments.
We, therefore, urge government to get back to the drawing board and put in place an effective plan that is not highly dependent on one manufacturer and procure the 17.6m doses of COVID-19 vaccines in order to meet the President’s June deadline,” he added.
They also expressed concern over putting Ghanaians who had already received the first jab at risk of losing the partial immunity they have acquired through vaccination, according to them it has the potential to make some desperate Ghanaians procure from unauthorized sources sub-standard jabs of COVID vaccines in order to extend the protections they have after taking their first jabs.
According to the minority they find it unfortunate that after provisions were made in this year’s budget for the procurement of vaccines and the assurance by government, not a single vaccine has been procured for Ghanaians.
Furthermore, they said that government should take additional steps to ensure that the vaccines from the Democratic Republic of Congo or any other country meet all the necessary requirements in terms of safety standards and efficacy before it will be deployed across the country.
“We know that India, a major exporter of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccines is currently facing challenges with high numbers of infections and associated deaths. However, government has had almost three months to put in place a vaccination plan and it is rather unfortunate that such a plan should now be rendered almost ineffective because of a challenge with one supplier,” he added.