The Ministry of Health (MoH) has debunked claims that it procurement Jansen vaccines at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021.
According to MoH, as part of the African Union’s Strategy to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa, Ghana subscribed to the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) protocol.
The AVAT was created as a central entity for the negotiation, procurement and payment for vaccines and also to act as the interface between AU member states on one hand and the vaccine manufacturers on the other hand. Countries were allocated quantities of vaccines based on the population and ability to deploy the vaccines on prescribed schedules.
The Ministry noted that the AVAT protocol required upfront payment by countries for scheduled deliveries such that, soon as any such volumes of vaccines were available for delivery, payment was due through the AVAT arrangement.
The MoH stated that for Ghana, 16,918,600 doses of the Jansen vaccines were allocated and AVAT was to deliver these vaccines periodically per the agreed delivery schedule, as and when they were needed them. The reason for the agreed number of doses was a result of the national policy of attaining herd immunity by immunizing 21 million people in Ghana, avoiding wastage, expiration and the difficulties, globally, in getting access to vaccines at the time.
The Ministry indicated that due to the unexpected hesitancy, cold chain storage challenges, spontaneous donations as well as manufacturer’s storage difficulties, the Ministry in June 2022, was compelled to agree on a delivery schedule for the remaining 11,052 million doses to be delivered from June to December 2022.
“According to the schedule, 1.6 million doses were to be delivered from June to December 2022 to complete the allocation. However, this process was delayed because of the aforementioned challenges. Currently, the Ministry requested and has received the June allocation which was delivered in January 2023,” it added.
The Ministry said it would continue to work with the AVAT for a possible review of the contract and assure the public of its commitment to work in the supreme interest of the public.
According to MoH, COVID-19 is not over and the government would still require some vaccines for continuous vaccination as some countries around the world are experiencing fresh waves and encouraged the general public to patronise the ongoing immunization programme.
Grace Acheampong, ISD