The Ministry of Health says arrangements made for the supply of COVID-19 vaccines were guided by laid down principles, including market authorization, availability, quality, safety, ease of administration, storage and cost.
According to a statement by the Ministry, the only COVID-19 vaccines the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has authorized for use in the country so far are AstraZeneca, Sputnik V and quite recently Johnson and Johnson.
The statement from the Ministry comes after a popular Norwegian website alleged that Ghanaian government officials have signed an agreement to purchase Sputnik vaccines manufactured and produced in Russia for 19 dollars per dose instead of 10 dollars.
The Minority Spokesperson on Health Kwabena Mintah Akandoh criticized the cost saying it is a rip off.
In reaction to the ongoing furors, the Ministry said Public Procurement Authority(PPA) was duly engaged in the processes.
In the statement, the Ministry of Health has since early this year, made several efforts to procure the Sputnik V vaccine directly by engaging the Russian authorities, such as the Russian Prime Minister, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the CEO of Russia Direct Investment Fund and the CEO of Limited Liability Company “Human Vaccine”.
Meetings were also held with the Deputy Ambassador of Russia in Ghana. The Ministry also engaged individual Ghanaians and companies for the supply of various types of COVID-19 vaccines.
Unfortunately, none of these efforts has yielded any results till date. The statements said against the background of non-response from direct channels and global shortages of the vaccine, the Ministry on the 9th of March this year, responded to an offer from the private office of H.H. Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the supply of a total quantity of 3.4 million doses of Sputnik V vaccines, at a unity cost nineteen US Dollars.
The Unit price according to the Ministry was negotiated at a meeting held with representatives from the Health Ministry and office of Dalmook Al Maktoum, who had travelled to Accra for the purpose.
The Ministry, after ascertaining the type and nature of the vaccine, through the delivery of 15,000 doses, placed an order for the supply of 300,000 doses of the vaccine at a cost of 5, 700 US Dollars which is yet to be delivered.
It noted that the 10 US Dollars prices per dose, which is being proposed as the correct price, is the ex-factory price, which is only obtained from Government to Government arrangements.
The Government of Ghana was unable to obtain direct supplies from the Russian Government as stated earlier, hence the resort to the market.
The Ministry gave assurance that it will endeavor to secure enough vaccines despite global shortages and cognizant of price and legal considerations.