Accra, Feb.19, GNA – Some government officials will publicly take doses of the COVID-19 vaccines before the mass vaccination exercise to help demystify the public apprehension about the vaccines.
The Ghana Health Service (GHS) will next month begin a mass vaccination exercise with COVID-19 vaccines for selected segments of the population.
The vaccines will first be administered to health care workers, frontline security personnel, persons with known underlying medical conditions, 60 plus older persons and frontline members of the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary.
The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has, so far, approved AstraZeneca vaccines from India and Sputnik-V vaccines from Russia for mass immunisation in Ghana, starting from March to October.
However, some social media platforms are awash with videos and photographs of people, who allegedly took COVID-19 vaccines in other jurisdictions, experiencing side effects, such as twisted mouth and nose, which has created fear and panic among a section of the Ghanaian population.
It is in that light, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the Minister-designate for Information, said at a public engagement on the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out plan, in Accra on Friday that, some members of government, including himself, would volunteer to publicly take shots of the COVID-19 vaccines to demystify the negative perception.
He said there would be elaborate stakeholder engagements and sustained public sensitisation campaigns by the Ghana Local Service(GLS), Ministry of Health(MOH), Ghana Health Service(GHS) National Commission for Civic Education(NCCE) and Information Services Department (ISD), to educate the public on the upcoming immunisation exercise.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah said health staff from the GHS, ISD and NCCE would visit markets, lorry parks, churches, mosques and other public places, with vans to sensitise the public, explain and answer questions regarding the vaccination exercise.
The Minister-designate urged the mass media to continue partnering government in educating the public on the vaccination programme as well as advocating strict adherence to the COVID-19 safety and preventive protocols.
Dr Kwame Amponsa-Achiano, the Programme Manager, Expanded Programme on Immunisation, Ghana Health Service, said the COVID-19 vaccines the country would soon administer had gone through clinical trial and proven to be safe and efficacious.
He said it would be administered in three phases, with each person taking two doses.
It is estimated that 20 million Ghanaians would be vaccinated at a cost of over $50 million and that it would cost the government $2.60 per person.
He said the GHS had trained over 12,500 vaccinators, 2,000 supervisors and 37,413 volunteers to administer the vaccines across the 260 metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies.
The vaccines would be stored at temperatures between two and eight degrees Celsius.
Dr Amponsa-Achiano said the country had a robust immunisation programme with more than 95 per cent coverage, which had stood the test of time.
Ghana’s COVID-19 vaccine immunisation regime is being supported by the COVAX Facility, the African Medicine Platform, the African Union and civil society organizations into pharmaceutical service.
Dr Amponsa-Achiano announced that the country would initially take delivery of more than 350,000 COVID-19 vaccines in a few weeks to enable the nationwide exercise to commence.