The Ghanaian Times reported on November 24 that while taking delivery of a November 22 US donation of COVID-19 vaccines, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) appealed to unvaccinated members of the public to go in for the jabs, hinting that about 900,000 AstraZeneca vaccines could expire by November 30 if public apathy towards vaccination persisted.
One of the stories in this issue says the Volta Regional Directorate of Health has destroyed 12, 780 doses of various COVID-19 vaccines which expired in November.
It is yet to be in the public domain how many doses have expired in other regions.
However, the Volta Region’s case confirms the fact that some COVID-19 doses have so far expired all because of public apathy or rejection of the jabs due to various factors.
At the initial stage of the vaccination,some people started raising some myths about it, right from the time of production of the vaccines and when the UK opened the floor on December 8, 2020 by giving the world’s first-ever jab to its citizen, Margaret Keenan, at the University Hospital in Coventry, one week before the grandmother’s 91st birthday and subsequently other citizens.
Among other issues, the conspiracy theorists said the vaccines were developed too quickly to be trusted and that they would cause reproductive problems.
The situation is worsened by people, including politicians, who are now raising human rights issues and giving impetus to the stance already taken by some people not to take the jabs.
This is unfortunate, especially viewed in terms of the reality of COVID-19, the struggles the country has gone through before securing the doses and the fact that its hopes of achieving herd immunity could be jeopardised.
It will be recalled that in the midst of the struggles by countries to procure vaccines, it became God-send when Ghana became the first country outside India to receive 600 000 doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, from the Serum Institute of India (SII), Pune, India on February 24 under the COVAX Facility.
After these were administered, the country had to wait till May 7, when it was gifted additional 350,000 doses taken out of 1.7 million consignment of doses allotted earlier to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Then on June 10, 2021, the World Bank approved a $200-million Ghana COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Project Second Additional Financing meant to procure and deploy COVID-19 vaccines for 13 million people in Ghana in collaboration with the COVAX Facility.
The Ghanaian Times has not forgotten the ordeal the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman Manu, had to go through after a botched contract to procure the vaccines to save lives.
Then on November 22, the US gave Ghana 1.7 million more doses, with 1 million extra following on December 8, to make the total US donation over 5.2 million Pfizer COVID-19 doses.
So far, the GHS records that it has vaccinated 6,609,366 Ghanaians as against the targeted 20 million for herd immunity out of the over 30-million population.
The Ghanaian Times, therefore, appeals to the conspiracy theorists and the human rights advocates to stop the unscientific arguments and allow the medical experts to work because even though the vaccines are said not to have 100-percent potency to prevent COVID-19 infection, it has at least 70 percent, which is enough to complement the other measures to help Ghanaians fight the disease.
The paper, therefore appeals to the unvaccinated members of the public to go for the COVID-19 to save themselves and prevent them to go to waste and render efforts and the purpose of their procurement unproductive.