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The Ranking Member of Parliament’s Health Committee, Mr Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, has urged the government to use Public-Private-Partnerships in procuring COVID-19 vaccines.
“We know that India – a major exporter of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines – is currently facing challenges with high numbers of infections and associated deaths”, he told journalists, noting: “However, the government has had almost three months to put in place a vaccination plan and it is rather unfortunate that such a plan should now be rendered almost ineffective because of a challenge with one supplier”.
In his view, “the health needs of Ghanaians must remain paramount in all considerations of this government and failure is not an option”.
Mr Akandoh suggested: “If funding is becoming a challenge for the government, it should consider partnering the private sector in a PPP arrangement to source these vaccines and supply them to the public.”
In his recent May Day address, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced that the second AstraZeneca vaccine consignment to fight the coronavirus will arrive in the country on Tuesday, 4 May 2021.
This is in addition to the first consignment of 600,000 vaccines that arrived on 24 February 2021.
The President also noted that by 15 May, his government would have procured some 1.3 million Sputnik vaccines to help fight the virus.
“We are receiving 350,000 more AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX Facility on Tuesday, in addition to the first consignment of 600,000 that came to hand on 24 February. By 15 May, the government would have procured some 1.3 million Sputnik vaccines,” the President stated.
Explaining why the vaccines are coming late, Nana Akufo-Addo said: “International vaccine politics and the unpredictability of the supply chain mean that we have not been able to procure the vaccines according to the schedule we had envisaged.”
He, however, assured the nation that the government is working hard to secure the vaccines “so we can hope to return our country, our economy and our lives to the normalcy we all so desire.”
The President also encouraged Ghanaians to continue to wear face masks to protect themselves and others against the coronavirus despite the discomfort associated with it.
The president stated that although he is aware Ghanaians are tired of wearing the mask, it has proven to be the best form of protection against COVID-19 and, therefore, beseeched the citizenry to continue to wear it.
“Probably, the most difficult thing for most of us to adjust to in the past years has been the wearing of face masks”.
“Secretary-General, nobody can say that the wearing of face masks is pleasant, and in spite of the valiant efforts of our tailors and designers to make fashion items out of the face masks, the truth remains that it is not easy to wear face masks.
“Nobody pretends that it becomes easier with time or practice, I know that people are tired of having to wear the masks. It is not natural, it is not comfortable, but it is the most effective protection so far that has been designed to help us survive this pandemic.”
He advised employers to encourage their staff to wear the mask to keep the workplace safe from COVID-19.
“Organised labour should be interested and should be in the forefront of championing the wearing of face masks. The masks give us the protection that we need to be able to go about daily life and go to our offices and factories and keep the economy open,” the President noted.
“The workplace should be a safe place, and, for the moment, we all have to wear the face masks to make sure that the workplace is safe,” he added.