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Nationwide COVID-19 vaccination begins on Wednesday

BY: Augustina Tawiah
Dr Kwame Amponsa-Achiano
Dr Kwame Amponsa-Achiano

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) will begin a nationwide COVID-19 vaccination for all persons 15 years and above, including pregnant women, from Wednesday, December 14 to Sunday, December 18, this year.

The exercise is targeted at administering about 1.46 million doses of vaccines during the four-day campaign, which is the fifth round of the National COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign Days (NaCVaDs) started in February 2022.

At a press conference in Accra yesterday, the Programme Manager of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation, Dr Kwame Amponsa-Achiano, said the strategies adopted for the campaign included outreach services just as was done for childhood immunisations; camp out where the vaccination team moved to island communities and sleep there to do the vaccination.

There would also be vaccination units stationed at the health facilities and modified house-to-house vaccinations.

He said the fifth NaCVaDs had become important to prevent any upsurge with the anticipated influx of people during the festive season.

Furthermore, Dr Amponsa-Achiano said, the fourth campaign was completed with impressive results and the fact that NaCVaDs campaigns had shown to be an additional key strategy that got a lot of persons vaccinated within a short time.

Vaccine doses administered

Touching on COVID-19 vaccines doses that had been administered, he said as of the end of last month, more than 21.17 million doses of vaccines had been administered.

The vaccines include Astra Zeneca, Sputnik, Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Janssen.

As of the same period, the country had received 34.04 million doses, out of which 30.57 million had been distributed, with 3.47 million doses available.

Vaccinated persons

On persons who have been vaccinated, Dr Amponsa-Achiano said more than 12.16 million people had received at least a dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while more than 9.10 million people had been fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 situation

On the COVID-19 situation, the programme manager said the number of positive cases was 171,026, out of which 169,556 had recovered and been discharged, with nine active cases.

There is neither a severe nor critical case of the disease. He, however, said the deaths recorded so far, were 1,461.

Some of the challenges facing the vaccination campaign remain misinformation and disinformation about vaccines; pockets of hesitancy and stretched health workers who were responding to multiple outbreaks, including Marburg, polio, yellow fever and monkey pox.

Festive season

The Director-General of the GHS, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, said more people would be coming into the country as the festive season approached, hence the need for people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“The best gift you can give your relative this festive season is convincing them to get vaccinated and when they get vaccinated, we all get protected. The teams are already in the field, when you walk into any facility, they will vaccinate you. After the vaccination days, if you want vaccination, you will be given. I want to say that the vaccination period has started,” he said.

The UNICEF Representative to Ghana, Anne-Claire Dufay, said it was important for people to consider COVID-19 vaccination as part of routine immunisation, adding that, that was what was happening worldwide.

“In the same way that we systematically and automatically send our children for polio immunisation, we should also make sure our family members are immunised when it comes to COVID-19 and yellow fever. Let us take the vaccination seriously, if we want to continue to have normal lives and for our loved ones to have normal lives,” she advised.