‘We may get our next vaccines in August’ – Health Minister

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The Minister for Health,  Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has indicated the shortest time Ghana would get its next vaccines would be in August 2021.

His comments follow intense pressure on the government over its decision to use intermediaries to secure over three million Sputnik-V vaccines at a cost of 19 dollars instead of 10 dollars on the international market.

Speaking to Citi News, the Dorma Central legislator, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, said until such a time that Ghana receives the next batch of vaccines, the population must continue to adhere to the COVID-19 safety protocols.

“We are waiting for vaccines. The agreements I signed, if they give me an indication that tomorrow morning come to the airport and collect your vaccines, we will go. Other than that, the earlier time we have an indication to get vaccines would be in August.”

He also indicated the government is still aggressive on its quest to manufacture vaccines locally, adding that some companies have shown commitment to that course.

“We have factories that were preparing themselves to produce vaccines and they have sent proposals to the government’s committee on the COVID-19 response team and things are progressing. If anything at all, in the very immediate future, we may be doing finishing and packing before we develop our own, and I think we have scientists who are ready to support us.”

Meanwhile, he has justified the government’s procurement of Sputnik-V vaccines despite concerns about the cost involved.

Mr. Agyeman-Manu, who was commenting publicly on the matter for the first time, said Ghana had no choice but to procure the vaccines at an overpriced value.

“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.

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