Has India Promised to Make COVID-19 Vaccines Available to Ghana?

A news report by BroadcastGhana with the headline “BREAKING NEWS: Ghana to Receive Coronavirus Vaccine From India – High Commissioner” claims that the Government of India has given assurances that it will make available its new COVID-19 vaccines to Ghana.

The report attributed the promise to the Indian High Commissioner to Ghana, Sugandh Rajaram.

India is the pharmaceutical centre of the world and as at now our scientists are in the process of producing not just one or two vaccines but three, which when are ready, will be available to not only Indians but millions of people including Ghanaians,” Mr Sugandh Rajaram is reported to have said.

Fact-checkghana.com looked into this claim and found it to be mostly true.

Explanation: Many countries across the world are anticipating the approval of a COVID-19 vaccine to be able to defeat the viral disease that has so far killed more than 750,000 people.

Ghana is among the countries that are hoping to soon receive a vaccine to tackle the disease.

According to the World Health Organization’s August 13 issue on the vaccine production process, over 130 candidate vaccines are in the preclinical evaluation stage while 29 of them are under clinical evaluation.

The three candidate vaccines from India include Bharat Biotech vaccine and DNA vaccine of Zydus Cadila which are both starting phase II of their clinical trials.

It is noteworthy that India’s foreign secretary, Harsh Shringla, earlier this week said Bangladesh would be top priority in the supply of COVID-19 vaccines if India’s candidate vaccines were approved.

The report by Broadcast Ghana, per Fact-checkghana’s findings, was curled from Graphic Online which published it on 16th August, 2020.

When we reached out to the reporter who produced the story for Graphic Online, Kester Aburam Korankye, he explained that Sugandh Rajaram made the comments in an interview with him at an event in Ghana to mark India’s independence anniversary.

We followed up with an email to the High Commission to confirm if the High Commissioner made the comment and also to get clarity on the subject.

A communications officer at the High Commission  confirmed on phone that the High Commissioner, indeed, made the comment but clarified that it was not a major policy decision specific to Ghana but it was part of India’s general generosity towards developing countries.

“You know that India is developing a vaccine and they are now approving the medicine. When it is finally approved, India’s intention is that it will be made available to all countries including Ghana. So it is not any major policy that India is taking on Ghana. Generally, because of humanity, we will normally help developing countries and poor countries. You know we have donated medicines to many countries recently for COVID-19. So it is a humanitarian help that they will be getting from our side,” he said.

From the above, we note from the above that the decision to provide the vaccine if approved to Ghana is not a specific intervention targeted at Ghana but generally all developing countries.

We also find that the Indian High Commissioner indeed indicated India’s commitment to make vaccines available to other countries if its candidate vaccines are approved.

Although the headline of the report published by BroadcastGhana gives false or subtle suggestions that India has an approved vaccine which it has decided to give to Ghana, the content of the story is factual and was truly uttered by the Indian High Commissioner to Ghana.

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