The best time to vaccinate and protect yourself against COVID-19 is now, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has advised.
It says, although the country was out of the fourth wave of COVID-19, amidst easing of restrictions, the risk of contracting the virus was still high, especially as cases are emerging in other parts of the world.
Head of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation, Dr Kwame Amponsah-Achiano, said this in an interview with the Ghanaian Times, yesterday, at a ceremony to donate 309,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to Ghana, by the Japanese government.
Valued at about 1.2 million dollars, the Japan Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Mochizuki Hisanobu handed the vaccines to the Deputy Minister of Health, Tina Naa Ayeley Mensah, in Accra.
“The best time to vaccinate is now. We are getting out of the fourth wave, cases are going down and we have less than 20 active cases but for protection, the best time to arm yourself against the virus is now.
If people get vaccinated, the likelihood of new strain or variant is low because the more the virus circulates the more the probability of a variant but people do not see the risk,” Dr Amponsah-Achiano said.
He made reference to China, which is having a resurgence of the virus, and urged Ghanaians to take a cue from it and vaccinate, to avert dire effects of a new wave.
The GHS was committed to intensifying its vaccination campaigns, increasing surveillance and advocacy among other measures, to put the disease under control, Dr Amponsah-Achiano assured.
He said the country was not regulating its receipt of vaccines with respect to the expiry dates to minimise wastage in the system.
“The ease of restrictions was premised on vaccination and everyone will have to play their part. The GHS will continue to push to get people vaccinated because our aim is to protect people.
People think that it is when you get the disease before you go for the vaccine, but this is false. Vaccines prevent disease and the best time to get vaccinated is now and we all have to be careful,” Dr Amponsah-Achiano advised.
Ms Mensah lauded Japan for pledging approximately 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Africa.
She also thanked the Japanese government for supporting Ghana with thermography systems, to fight the pandemic, as well as supporting the health delivery system in areas of maternal-child health, research and infrastructural expansion.
Mr Mochizuki said the donation was in fulfillment of a promise by Prime Minister, Fumio Kishisa, to contribute equal access to vaccines as the world ramps up vaccination.
“We are convinced that bringing the virus under control will require coordination and strong partnership and Japan will continue to coordinate and cooperate with the government of Ghana and relevant international organisations to reduce the impact of the pandemic on the people,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Ghana has since February last year, received a total of 30.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines with about 13 million administered so far.
Presently, the country’s active cases are 58 although 1,445 persons have died from the virus since March 2020.
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH