On Saturday, Ghana took delivery of 177,600 doses of the Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccines under the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT), the consignment forming part of a total of 6.4 million vaccines with its shipment and distribution to African Union Member States expected to be completed by the end of this month.
The Johnson and Johnson vaccines are said to be cheap and easier to administer, and has a long shelf-life.
The Ghanaian Times is happy that already, there are cold-chain storage facilities in place to keep the vaccines in good conditionfor the period that they would be used to immunise members of the public, particularly those who have not taken any of the COVID-19 vaccines at all.
The government has promised to continue to procure more of the vaccine in order to achieve herd immunity, which occurs when a large portion of the population becomes immune to a disease, making its spread unlikely or difficult.
Now,withthe World Health Organisation charging member countries to vaccinate at least 60 percent of their populations to achieve herd immunity, we can say that the country has to increase its efforts in leaps and bounds to achieve that.
This is because so far the country has received three consignments of doses, with the first two being double-dose vaccines.
The first one was made up of 600 000 doses of the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine, which arrived on 24 February, 2021.
The second, 350,000 doses, arriving on May 7 from the Democratic Republic of Congo through the COVAX Facility (CEPI, GAVI, UNICEF, WHO), added up to make the total 950,000.
For their double-dose nature,475,000 Ghanaians could have benefited from those doses but the authorities even sayonly 405,971 people were fully vaccinated from the Astra Zeneca vaccines.
This means all things being equal, by the time the177,600 doses of the Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccines are administered, only 583,571 out of at least 31 million Ghanaians would have been vaccinated, which is a paltry 1.8 percent, one-thirty-third of the WHO 60-percent threshold for herd immunity.
Looking at this in the face of the fact that the Ghanaian populace are not adhering to the COVID-19 safety protocol, but the vaccines can at least give 70-percent immunity to those who receive them, efforts to get the vaccines should be encouraged and hailed.
And even where a public official errs, as in the case of Mr Kwaku Agyeman Manu, the Minister of Health, such case must be handled with caution and devoid of emotions and partisanship.
The Ghanaian Times believes that any grievous punishment meted out to the minister, such as his removal from office, can eventually kill the spirit of initiative among public officials in emergency situations.
The paper, however, commends the Minority in Parliament for their efforts to seek the probe into the contract between Ghana and an Emirati businessman, Sheikh Ahmad Dalmook Al Maktoum, for the supply of 3.4 million doses ofSputnik V coronavirus vaccines to the tune of GHC16.3 million without recourse to Parliamentary approval in line with Article 181 of the constitution.
That effort alone sounds deterrent enough to guide any such future emergency.