COVID-19:Mr Kwaku Agyemang- Manu, the Minister of Health Designate has asked Ghanaians to be ready for the coronavirus vaccination in March this year.
“We all need to be vaccinated in this country,” he said.
He said it was untrue that the COVID-19 vaccine was developed to kill Africans and that the vaccines to be administered would rather protect the public against the virus.
The Minister Designate said this on Friday when the Ministry of Health together with the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the Government of Ghana held a public engagement on the COVID-19 vaccination Roll out Plan in Accra.
Mr Agyeman-Manu said vaccination was not new to the world and Ghana, for instance, had succeeded in eliminating a lot of diseases through the use of vaccines.
He explained, “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.”
Presently the government has 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.
He said while the nation awaited the start of the 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 vaccinations campaign.
Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), said it was time for Ghanaians to focus on how to prepare their 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 Director-General noted that the nation had recorded a decline in COVID- 19 active cases in the last two weeks due to an increase in the use of face mask among the public.
Dr Delese A.A Darko, Chief Executive Officer of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), said the two vaccines were ordered through Emergency Use Authorization; a pathway used to ensure that a needed medical product is made available on time without compromising on its safety or efficacy.
“This is to assure the public that all that we need to do to ensure the vaccine is safe, has been done for these two vaccines.”
She said to further monitor the safety of the vaccine during the campaign, the FDA 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.
Dr Kwame Amponsa-Achiano, Programme Manager, Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), said the vaccination would be done in three segments.
He said the first segment would involve persons at most risk, such as; healthcare workers, frontline security personnel, persons with underlining health conditions, front line members of the executive, legislature and judiciary and persons age 60 and above.
The second segment would focus on essential service providers and other security agencies such as water and electricity suppliers, teachers, the media, farmers and the food value chain players among others.
Dr Amponsa-Achiano said the third segment would be the public.
Dr Yaw Bediako, Head of the West African Center for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens, said the COVID-19 vaccine was safe and would protect the public from contracting the virus.
He said it would also make the immune system stronger by ‘training’ the system to develop antibodies against 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 reactions.