The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has announced the registration of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine against coronavirus by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Ghana.
The vaccine was approved under the Emergency Use Authorization procedure - a pathway that ensures that a needed medical product or vaccines are made available on time without compromising on its safety or efficacy during health emergencies.
A statement made available to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra on Saturday, said Ghana was the 31st country in the world and the 5th State of Africa to register for the Sputnik V vaccine.
Sputnik V is one of the world's top three coronavirus vaccines in terms of the number of approvals issued by government regulators.
It has been approved in Russia, Belarus, Argentina, Bolivia, Serbia, Algeria, Palestine, Venezuela, Paraguay, Turkmenistan, Hungary, UAE, Iran, Republic of Guinea, Tunisia, Armenia, Mexico, Nicaragua.
The Republika Srpska (entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina), Lebanon, Myanmar, Pakistan, Mongolia, Bahrain, Montenegro, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Gabon and San Marino Kirill Dmitriev, have also approved the vaccine.
The statement said the Ministry of Health had thoroughly reviewed the data on the safety and efficacy of the Sputnik V vaccine and approved its usage.
The efficacy of Sputnik V is 91.6 per cent as confirmed by the data published in the Lancet, one of the world's oldest and most respected medical journals.
The vaccine is one of the only three vaccines in the world with an efficacy of over 90 per cent and provides full protection against severe cases of COVID-19.
The Sputnik V vaccine is based on a proven and well-studied platform of human adenoviral vectors, which cause the common cold and have been around for thousands of years.
The statement said the Sputnik V vaccine uses two different vectors for the two shots in a course of vaccination, providing immunity with a longer duration than vaccines using the same delivery mechanism for both shots.
It said, the safety, efficacy and lack of negative long-term effects of adenoviral vaccines have been proven by more than 250 clinical studies over two decades.
The statement said the developers of the Sputnik V vaccine are working collaboratively with AstraZeneca on a joint clinical trial to improve the efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
It said there are no strong allergies caused by Sputnik V and that the price of the vaccine is less than $10 per shot, making it affordable around the world.
The Minister of Health Designate, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, at a media engagement, asked Ghanaians to be ready for the coronavirus vaccination in March this year.
“We all need to be vaccinated in this country,” he said.
The Minister Designate said it was untrue that Covid-19 vaccines were developed to kill Africans and that the vaccines would rather protect the public against the virus.
Mr Agyeman-Manu said vaccination was not new to the world and Ghana, and that the country had succeeded in eliminating a lot of diseases through the use of vaccines.
“This is for prevention so that you don’t get infected and even if you get infected the severity of the illness will not get out of hand,” he explained.
The Ghana News Agency gathered that the government had applied for two different Covid-19 vaccines; Covishield; the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute in India and the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, manufactured in Russia.
The two are expected to arrive in the country by the end of this month.
The Minister Designate said while the nation awaited the start of vaccination, it was paramount that every Ghanaian adhered to the coronavirus prevention protocols.
Mr. Agyemang-Manu said the Health Ministry would deploy a total of 12,471 vaccinators, 37,413 volunteers and 2079 team supervisors for a planned two rounds vaccination campaign.
The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, said it was time for the individual to focus on how to his or her body’s natural defence against the virus.
He said the available vaccines had proven to be effective and Ghana needed to break the coronavirus transmission chain through vaccination.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Dr Delese A.A Darko, said the two vaccines were ordered through the Emergency Use Authorisation not to compromise on its safety or efficacy.
She said to monitor the safety of the vaccine during the campaign, her outfit had put together a nationwide safety surveillance system to ensure that every person vaccinated was actively followed up for the detection and management of any adverse effect in all parts of the country.
The Programme Manager, Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), Dr Kwame Amponsa-Achiano, said the vaccination would be done in three segments.
According to him, the first segment would involve healthcare workers, frontline security personnel, persons with underlining health conditions, front line members of the executive, legislature and judiciary as well as persons aged 60 and above.
The second segment, he said would focus on essential service providers and other security agencies such as water and electricity suppliers, teachers, the media, farmers as well as the food value chain players among others, adding that the third segment would be the public.
Dr Yaw Bediako, the Head of the West African Center for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens, said the vaccine was safe and would protect the public from contracting the virus.
The Programme Manager, said 188 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccines had been administered worldwide and there were very few reports on its reactions.