Pharmacist, Kwame Sarpong Asiedu, has downplayed the possibility of Ghana securing COVID-19 vaccines by March 2021 as the reality on the ground does not support such optimism.
The UK-based Ghanaian pharmacist believes that although the country may receive the vaccine next year, it may only be possible by June 2021.
“I know that we will get vaccines but I am a realist and think that we probably wouldn’t get anything trickling in, until about the second quarter of 2021,” he told Newsfile host Samson Lardy Anyenini, Saturday.
Meanwhile, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has expressed that Ghana will access the covid-19 vaccine by March 2021.
But, the pharmacist and Fellow of the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) has said the vaccine manufacturers have placed some restrictions on the distribution hence the impossibility.
“The caveat is that you can only get as much as 20 percent of your population and for your vulnerable people.
“The other caveat to it (the vaccine) is that it doesn’t kick in until the end of the first quarter of 2021.”
He further raised concerns on the need for Ghana to prioritise the aged and vulnerable person for the vaccination.
“In the UK, there is an up to date register of step by step vaccination protocols starting with people over 80-years old, then to 70-years and inertial residential homes, then to 65-years vulnerable population…”
Mr Asiedu noted that the Covex agreement itself has stated that health professionals and at-risk vulnerable populations should be prioritised.
“I wonder, even at this time if we have identified our vulnerable population in Ghana. So when I heard the President speak and I heard others saying that we will start getting the vaccine by March, I cringe a bit because I have been following the Covex conversation,” he disclosed.
The pharmacist further advised Ghana to make provision for the appropriate storage of the vaccines when received.
“ It has to be stored on dry ice and in liquefied nitrogen because of the minus 70 degrees… So yes, we will get vaccines but it will be intriguing to see how the vaccine dynamics would play and then even with the vaccine dynamics, which of the vaccines we are going to go for because of the coach in protocols.”
Almost 790,000 people in the UK had the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine as of Friday, December 24, with an expectation that the Oxford vaccines which are about 80 to 90,000 doses will be cleared by Tuesday, December 29.
He hinted that unless the manufacturing countries have gotten their doses, exporting to Ghana will be unrealistic.
“Currently, of the 1.3 billion doses of the vaccine candidates that are likely to see the light of day by the end of December, 15 countries have held them in ransom and stock.”