President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has made a strong case to COVID-19 vaccine producer, Astra Zeneca, to make available extra vaccines to Ghana to enable her to vaccinate her population.
The President made the call Friday, July 30, 2021, when he visited the Oxford Vaccine Group (OVG) at the University of Oxford, in the United Kingdom (UK).
The visit is largely seen as direct lobbying by President Akufo-Addo, to push for more of their Oxford Astra Zeneca Covid-19 vaccines to be released to Ghana.
Persons in the President’s team who visited the Astra Zeneca outfit and are briefed with details of the President’s engagement indicate that he had a fruitful discussion with the leadership of the Oxford Vaccine Group and further consultations will continue to ensure that Ghana secures the requisite quantities of vaccines for her citizenry.
Ghana on Wednesday 24th February 2021 became the first country in Africa to receive Astra Zeneca vaccines from the United Nations-backed COVAX programme, a global scheme to procure free coronavirus jabs for poorer countries. A total of 600,000 vaccines were received.
On the 1st of March 2021, President Akufo-Addo became the world’s first recipient of the COVID-19 vaccine from COVAX.
“It is important that I set the example that this vaccine is safe by being the first to have it so that everybody in Ghana can feel comfortable about taking this vaccine,” the President said before receiving a shot of the Oxford-
Astra Zeneca vaccine in a live broadcast.
Ghana has so far vaccinated about one million, two hundred and seventy thousand of its citizens. The target as set out by President Akufo-Addo is to vaccinate the entire adult population of Ghana which is about 20 million, by the end of 2021.
Vaccinations in Ghana has largely halted due to the unavailability of vaccines on the international market. Health experts indicate that the surest way to beat the COVID-19 pandemic is for all countries to vaccinate their populations.
Oxford Vaccine Group
The Oxford Vaccine Group (OVG) conducts studies of new and improved vaccines for children and adults and is based in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Oxford. The group is led by Professor Andrew J Pollard. OVG was founded in 1994 by Professor E. Richard Moxon.
The multidisciplinary group, led by Professor Pollard since 2001, includes consultants in vaccinology, a Director of Clinical Trials, a Senior Clinical Trials Manager, adult and paediatric clinical research fellows, adult and paediatric research nurses, project managers, statisticians, QA manager, Clinical Trials IT and Development Lead, and an administration team.
OVG team also includes post-doctoral scientists, research assistants and DPhil students and who work together with professionals from a range of specialities such as immunologists, microbiologists, epidemiologists, health communicators, and a sociologist, a community paediatrician, the local Health Protection team and a bioethicist. OVG is a UKCRC registered clinical trials unit working in collaboration with the Primary Care Trials Unit at Oxford University.