General News Wed, 24 Feb 2021

What you need to know about Ghana’s AstraZeneca vaccines

The government of Ghana has received 600,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines as part of efforts to vaccinate 20 million citizens.

The earliest indication of a vaccine arriving in the country was estimated to be in late March and this was supposed to be a consignment purchased by the Ghana government.

However, the nation now has the opportunity to commence its coronavirus vaccination exercise ahead of the initial plan with credit to the multilateral pact known as COVAX, a global equitable vaccine alliance led by the World Health Organization, WHO. The alliance aims to make available over 2 billion vaccine doses to the world population by end of 2021.

With the national target in mind, Ghana has set March 2, 2021, to officially commence its vaccine rollout programme beginning with the 600,000 AstraZeneca doses. The exercise is expected to last between March and October this year.

How the AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine works

Made from the weakened version of a common cold virus known as adenovirus from chimpanzees, the vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), is modified to look more like coronavirus - although it can't cause illness.

Research has shown it is highly effective and that no one given the vaccine during trials developed severe symptoms or needed hospital treatment.

Unlike Pfizer's jab - which has to be kept at an extremely cold temperature (-70C), the AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored in a normal fridge. This makes it much easier to distribute and much more suitable for use on the African continent due to the lack of critical infrastructure.

How Ghana intends to roll out vaccination programme

The government of Ghana intends to use the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) structure to roll out the vaccines.

So far, the Food and Drugs Authority, FDA; has approved two types of vaccines to be administered in the country. They are the AstraZeneca and the Sputnik-V (manufactured in Russia).

In terms of human capital aimed at making the exercise successful, the country has trained 12,500 vaccinators, 2,000 supervisors and 37,413 volunteers to conduct the vaccination in the 260 MMDAs.

The exercise will be conducted in three phases and everyone out of the 20 million targeted population are expected to take two jabs of vaccines each by the end of the exercise.

Who receives a jab?

According to the government of Ghana COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan, the exercise will be targeted. With priority given to persons falling in groups such as health care workers, frontline security personnel, persons with known underlying medical conditions, persons above 60 years as well as members of the executive, legislature and the judiciary.
Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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