Go for COVID-19 vaccine jab to protect against new variant – GHS

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) is encouraging persons yet to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 to do so in order to protect themselves against possible new variants of the virus.

The Head of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI), Dr Kwame Amponsah-Achiano, said not only do unvaccinated people risk suffering severe illness or death from a possible infection, but the country risked losing its vaccines currently in store.

“We understand that there is pandemic fatigue but the virus is still there and can mutate so it is better to be protected. Now, we have about six million vaccine doses in stock at the national cold room; some are in the regions and districts, butif we do not get unvaccinated persons to take them, we are likely to lose them,” he said at a day’s advocacy meeting with selected journalists on Ghana’s guidelines on immunisation, in Accra last Friday.

According to Dr Amponsah-Achiano, the country was “doing about six percent wastage of vaccines”, attributing the apathy towards the COVID-19 vaccines to low risk perception, misinformation and the agenda of anti-vaxxers, among others.

Nonetheless, he noted that huge progress had been made towards achieving the country’s vaccination target having administered about 19 million doses so far.

“We have fully vaccinated about nine million persons, 11 million people have received at least one jab and over one million taken a booster jab. We actually stretched ourselves with our target of vaccinating about 70 % of the population and we have done well so far.”

In an earlier interview with the Ghanaian Times, the Director-General of the GHS, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, said health authorities were making efforts to possibly extend COVID-19 vaccination to children below 15 years.

He said; “we have approached the national immunisation technical advisory that looks intoall the evidence including the risk, safety, benefits, cost implications and every other thing related to vaccinating children.”

“We are waiting on their advice to take a decision on it,” he said, adding that sticking to the safety protocols of social distancing, hand hygiene and wearing of masks among the population remainkey to reducing infection.

“The key concern is that COVID-19 vaccines are still available and free and everybody must protect themselves by taking the jab.One dose is not enough, get the second dose and booster,” he advised.

Meanwhile, Ghana as of August 11, 2022, has 126 active cases of COVID-19, although none is in a severe or critical condition.

However, some 1,459 persons have succumbed to the virus since the country recorded its first case in March 2020.

The Greater Accra region still leads the infection rate with 43 cases, followed by Bono East, the Central, Upper West and Western North regions respectively.

BY ABIGAIL ANNOH

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