FDA warns against illegal importation of COVID-19 vaccines

The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) is cautioning importers against bringing COVID-19 vaccines into the country.

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The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) is cautioning importers against bringing COVID-19 vaccines into the country.

Such persons, the regulator says will be made to face the law if found culpable.

The Authority says the vaccines can only be imported into the country by the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service.

In a Citi News interview, the Head of Communications and Public Education at the FDA, Rhoda Appiah said they will ensure strict adherence to the law to protect the interest of the public.

“The sale and advertisement of the vaccines online is totally unacceptable and strictly prohibited. We expect people to rather do what is expected of them by going according to the rules that will be set out. The deployment of the vaccine and the importation of it is largely the duty of the Ghana Health Service and also the Ministry of Health. More importantly, freight forwarders and importers must know that, it is an offence to be found clearing such goods. The FDA has a presence at all the ports, so they need to be on the side of caution because they will be arrested and prosecuted”, she said.

Recently, the FDA asked the public not to patronize products offered online supposedly being advertised as COVID-19 vaccines.

It followed reports of the seizure of fake COVID-19 vaccines in South Africa.

“The FDA wishes to caution the general public that online advertising, offering for sale and supply of medicinal products including the COVID-19 vaccines are strictly prohibited. Therefore, the public should not purchase any COVID-19 vaccines online”, it said in the statement.

The FDA also cautioned courier services including shippers and freight forwarders against bringing into Ghana any unauthorised vaccines since such practices will be in contravention of Section 118 of the Public Health Act and FDA’s Guidelines for Emergency Use Authorisation of Medical Products (FDA/GEN/GL-EUA/2021/04).

“COVID-19 vaccines are to be expressly imported only by and through the Ministry of Health,” the statement warned.

“The public is therefore advised to report to the FDA any suspicious activity(ies) relating to the advertising and offering for sale and supply of COVID-19 vaccines and/or related products. All reports/complaints shall be treated in confidence.”

For the avoidance of doubt, the FDA in the statement said “so far, the only COVID-19 vaccines authorised for use in Ghana are SPUTNIK V and COVISHIELD vaccines. Furthermore, the importation and deployment of these two vaccines in the country are under the control of only the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service, respectively”.