The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has vaccinated about 300,000 people since the exercise to vaccinate Ghanaians against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic started a week ago.
Data gathered electronically indicate that as of 8 p.m. last Sunday, 202,252 people had taken their first dose of the vaccine, with a one-third of the number yet to be captured.
“As I said, about a third of this number is still being entered. I say that given the enthusiasm with which Ghanaians wanted to get vaccinated, we needed to slow down, so not everything was entered.
“We used manual paper data and recorded some electronically, and as they synchronise the data, we will provide you with additional data. One can confidently say that we are doing almost 300,000 by the time we sink all the data,” the Director-General of the GHS, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, disclosed yesterday at the Ministers’ Press Briefing at the Presidential Villa, Peduase Lodge, near Aburi in the Eastern Region.
The vaccination programme started on March 2 with the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
Ghana received 600,000 doses of the vaccine, Covishield, on February 24, this year, under the COVAX scheme.
The GHS subsequently rolled out an Expanded Programme on Immunisation from March 2.
Giving a summary of the breakdown based on the 202,252 figure, Dr Kuma-Aboagye said the Greater Accra Region had the highest number of people vaccinated of 128,088, with the data of some 58,000 yet to be entered.
That, he said, was followed by the Ashanti Region, with 69,325, and the Central Region, with 4,639.
He said last Friday saw the highest number of people vaccinated in a day (46,780), adding that the proportion of people vaccinated by sex was almost 50:50 — 101,136 males as against 100,916 females.
With almost 191 doses administered on March 1 to high-profile personalities, starting with the President, to encourage uptake, the vaccination ramped up to 32,644 on the second day and peaked at 46,780 last Friday.
Last Saturday, those vaccinated were 39,000, while 26,000 were vaccinated last Sunday.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye said adults 60 years and above led the list of those vaccinated — 51,418 — followed closely by health and frontline workers of 47,163, with people with known underlying co-morbidities coming third — 31,149.
The general population of above 18 years follows with 18,542 people, perfectly playing out to the targeted plan of the exercise.
He said others included essential service providers, members of the security services, teachers, members of the Executive, the Judiciary, the Legislature and the media.
The director-general said the programme would now pursue additional vaccines and also extend the exercise to health workers in other districts and regions.
Last week, the Indian government donated 50,000 doses of Covishield, which is produced by the Serum Institute in India, to Ghana.
The government is also working to procure some of the vaccines from Russia, the Sputnik-V, towards reaching 20 million people or reaching 60 per cent head immunity for the population.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye said the GHS would also acquire additional cold chain equipment, including ultra-negative freezers, as the exercise expanded its scope.
He said the service would also sustain public education on adherence to the safety protocols and vaccine uptake, adding that a vaccine App was being tested for roll out to enable people to book appointments for vaccination.
COVID-19 in schools
Since pupils and students returned to school in January this year, 1,709 COVID-19 cases had been recorded among them, with 381 active cases, the director-general stated.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye said the cases were recorded in 281 schools in all regions except the North East, with Greater Accra having the highest number of schools of 47 and Volta having the highest number of cases of 359, of which 134 were still active.
Schools in Central have 85 active cases, Eastern 44, Western 32 and Savannah 14.
The GHS Director-General said there had been a gradual improvement in the general COVID-19 situation, adding that active cases declined from over 8,000 to less than 5,000 over the past four weeks.
Daily reported cases, he said, had declined from 800 cases to about 400 within the period under review.
“Daily admissions have declined from 270 to about 150 in Greater Accra,” Dr Kuma-Aboagye said.
As of March 5, this year, he said, 86,737 cases had been recorded and 929,189 (29,973/1M) tests done, with a cumulative positivity rate of 9.3 per cent.
There are 81,299 (93.7%) discharges/recoveries, 656 deaths, leaving active cases of 4,782.
Again, he said, the Greater Accra Region was still the epicentre, adding that “currently all 16 regions and 252 districts have ever reported cases”.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye said as of last Thursday, cases on admission were 177, made up of 25 critical cases, 66 severe cases and 86 mild-to-moderate cases.
Moreover, he said, 1,260 cases had been recorded among international arrivals at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), with majority of them (57.9 per cent) being non-Ghanaian citizens.