Professor at the University of Ghana, and Director of the West African Center for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens, Gordon Akanzuwine Awandare, has said that Ghana has been irresponsible following the inability of local scientists to produce vaccines to tackle the coronavirus.
Speaking in an interview with TV3’s Roland Walker, Prof Awanadre noted that Ghana does not have the facilities to enable indigenous scientists to produce vaccines.
“We have many scientists who can work in these things, some of the vaccine manufacturing companies, there are Africans there who are 0playing key roles in making these vaccines. Back here we have a lot of scientists who know how to develop vaccines but where are the facilities to make vaccines?
“It takes a lot of investments over a sustained period of time to create the necessary for us to be able to develop our own vaccines.
“We have been very irresponsible in not building our own capacity to do high-quality scientific research and to make our own vaccines, our drugs. This is exposing us for being asleep and not taking our own destiny into our hands.”
Prof Awandare had also noted that the government of Ghana gave 100% assurance to Ghanaians that they were going to be vaccinated against the coronavirus virus when the production of the vaccines is not in its control.
He said at the moment, Ghana will have to wait until the United Kingdom and the United States have all vaccinated their citizens then, the West African country can go and negotiate for the leftover vaccines for its people.
He told Abena Tabi, host of the Key Points on TV3 Saturday, May 1 that several Ghanaians who received the first dose of the COVID vaccines are concerned about when they will receive the second dose.
This concern, he said, is genuine because of the assurance given to them by local authorities that they were all going to be vaccinated.
“I see that a lot of people are angry and worried and all that. Yes, you have the right to be worried because maybe the mistake from our authorities was that they over-promised when they knew that this was not within their power to deliver on time.
“We should have been more cautious and realistic with the people. Some of us were saying that let us think about July, August and let us promise the people that we will get vaccines beyond July and August.
“When the UK is fully vaccinated, when the US is fully vaccinated then we can negotiate for leftover vaccines but at this point, you cannot guarantee the arrival of any vaccine in any sufficient quantities from anywhere,” Prof Awandaree said.
He added “I have not seen any evidence that we have a concrete assurance that millions of vaccines will arrive anytime soon.
“So I think we have to be realistic that maybe, we were overpromised but the reality is that this is beyond the control of any African government because they don’t have the capacity to make vaccines and they are relying on others to be generous.”
In February this year, six hundred thousand of the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from the UN-partnered COVAX initiative arrived in Ghana.