A former Deputy Health Minister, Bernard Okoe-Boye has disclosed that Ghana only received first shots of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines under the COVAX equitable vaccine sharing platform.
In late February 2021, Ghana became the first country in the world to receive vaccines under the COVAX platform.
600,000 shots were delivered to much fanfare at the Kotoka International Airport, KIA; and a national rollout started in early March with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo receiving the first shot.
Speaking on Tuesday evening (April 6) on the Face To Face program on Accra-based Citi TV, the former deputy minister said Ghana was ready to purchase the second shots if need be.
“We rolled all (600,000 shots) out, as we speak, I am sure we will be nearing 700,000 (vaccinations). Remember, apart from COVAX, we have had supplies from the Africa medicine supplies platform.
“We are working hard, the president himself is involved, the Minister of Health is involved, the Ghana Health Service, we are all involved. Remember, if we even have to buy the vaccines outside COVAX, we are willing to do that especially for the second dose,” he added.
He also disclosed that the government, through the Bank of Ghana, BoG, has raised Letters of Credit to purchase vaccines especially Sputnik V – the Russian vaccines passed for emergency use in Ghana last month.
“As I speak, government is working on LCs to purchase vaccines, some of the Sputnik vaccines, we are looking at buying in the short term about 2 million. In the medium to long term before the end of the year, we are looking at about 10 million from Sputnik.”
Asked about how long it will take for the jabs to arrive in the country, he assures that once agreements were reached, the supplies could be delivered in under 24 hours.
“Luckily, most of these are not put on a ship, so a maximum of six, eight or maximum 12 hours and the vaccines are here, anything can happen any day. LCs have gone all the way to Bank of Ghana with Ghana having made commitments to buy them,” he added.