GHS to deploy single dose vaccines to emerging COVID-19 hotspots

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) will deploy the just received Johnson and Johnson single-shot vaccines to hotspot areas within the country where spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is prevalent.

Programme Manager of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation, Dr Kwame Amponsah-Achiano, who made the disclosure on Accra-based Joy FM in Accra yesterday, however failed to indicate when deployment would begin.

According to him, all necessary cold-chain equipment and personnel were in place for deployment and “we are ready to roll it out as soon as possible without any hitches.”

“For now, we will be focusing on the hotspot areas; else, what we have received won’t be enough for the larger populace. Because these vaccines are single-shot, we will be giving them to persons who haven’t taken their jabs at all.

We still haven’t changed our policy on taking the same vaccine for a second dose so those who have taken AstraZeneca and Sputnik should remain calm as we are working round the clock to get some vaccines for them. We expect that before the end of the month, we should receive some AstraZeneca,” he stated.

The Greater Accra and Ashanti regions have remained Ghana’s epicentre for the spread of COVID-19 since recording its first case in March 2020; however, following the detection of the new Delta variant in July this year, the GHS has named three regions as “emerging hotspots” for spread of the infection.

They include the Volta, Bono and Bono East regions which currently has cumulative active cases of 1,009 as of August 5, 2021.

Ghana now has 6,969 active cases of COVID-19 with the Greater Accra Region leading the infection rate with 3,286 followed by Ashanti; 1,468.

Some 87 persons and 36 others are in severe and critical conditions respectively in various treatment centres and the death toll stands at 874.

The GHS has warned that a third wave of COVID-19 is imminent as the Delta variant continues to drive a surge in the country.

Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, Director-General of the GHS, at a recent news conference said factors driving the current increase in cases were the non-adherence to the COVID-19 protocol, especially the improper wearing of face mask, non-use of face masks, low adherence to proper hand hygiene and non-maintenance of social distancing.

He said the current trajectory of cases coupled with low adherence to COVID-19 protocol posed a significant risk of a higher third wave for the country, warning that “average cases per day are likely to increase with the attendant increase in severe and critical cases.”

The Delta variant, first detected in India is said to be highly transmissible and currently prevalent in over 100 countries globally.

Reports suggest that the variant may trigger serious illness in persons who were yet to be vaccinated.

BY ABIGAIL ANNOH

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