Government will continue to hunt for Coronavirus vaccines – Okoe-Boye

Dr Bernard Okoe Boye

Member of Ghana’s COVID-19 response team, Dr. Bernard Okoe-Boye has noted that government is doing everything possible to secure more Coronavirus vaccines for its inoculation program.

Admitting that the acquisition process is fraught with challenges, the former deputy Health Minister said Ghana was facing a global problem.

Dr Okoe-Boye furthered that government is engaging directly with other European countries that have doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines to sell to Ghana at a moderate price.

“What is happening to Ghana is a global issue. So what we are doing is that, this government is engaging directly with other European countries who have stock of AstraZeneca and are not deploying them that much. So we will continue to explore,” he said on Citi TV’s Point of View programme on Monday, June 14.

Ghana has so far vaccinated close to a million citizens with two batches of AstraZeneca vaccines from the global equitable vaccine distribution platform, COVAX. Ghana also received an additional 50,000 from the Indian government.

Not all of those vaccinated have received the double dose due to difficulties in procuring vaccines which situation has led government to turn to middlemen for more supplies.

Government’s procurement plan for Russia’s Sputnik-V vaccines through middlemen at a cost of $19 instead of the factory price of $10 has generated uproar in the past week.

Dr Okoe-Boye opined that government must be lauded for taking this step because it is for the betterment of Ghanaian and the nation at large.

Justifying the procurement of the vaccine via middlemen, Dr Okoe Boye said, “If we were a lazy government, we would just go to sleep and wait for COVAX to say we should come for the vaccines as they did with 650,000 doses…As we speak, COVAX can’t tell us when we will get the next consignment. There are severe supply constraints globally, because of what happened to Serum Institute, the biggest manufacturing plant in India.”

Meanwhile, the Minority in Parliament and other stakeholders have petitioned Speaker Alban Bagbin to summon the Health Minister over the processes that went into the procurement of the Spuknik V vaccines.

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