Ghana has so far administered close to 15.45 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines with nearly 10 million persons benefiting from a vaccine, the Ghana Health Service (GHS), has said.
Dr Kwame Amponsah-Achiano, the Programme Manager, Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), GHS, who made this known, said out of the 10 million, 6.4 persons were fully vaccinated.
“So far, we have done about 15.45 million doses and it has benefited nearly 10 million persons so I will say that 10 million people have ever come for a vaccine, whether it is one, two, or three times and out of the 10 million, 6.4 are fully vaccinated,” he stated.
Dr Amponsah-Achiano was speaking at a stakeholder’s engagement on a draft Vaccine Related Events (VRE) response plan for Ghana.
The VRE’s are events related to vaccines that can negatively affect a vaccination programme.
It also offers guidance in training and mobilisation activities for effective vaccine response initiatives in Ghana.
The plan also seeks to provide a well-coordinated national response that defines clear roles and responsibilities of stakeholders at the national, regional, and district levels for effective response to VREs for all types of vaccines in a timely manner.
The EPI Manager, speaking on the significance of vaccines in saving lives, noted that even though the use of vaccines did not guarantee 100 per cent eradication of diseases and illnesses, it was important for the country to have a blueprint, which would serve as a guidance for pre vaccine and post vaccine events.
“As we keep on saying, it is not everything that is related to vaccination that is caused by the vaccine.
“Sometimes even before the vaccine is delivered you will have a lot of rumours, misinformation about the vaccine, these are all events because we want to get vaccines to as many people as possible who may need it.
“If there are events that may disrupt the programme, of course we need to be proactive, so that is the reason for this document so that it guides us in responding to them before vaccination exercises,” he further explained.
Dr Amponsah-Achiano said though President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had eased the COVID-19 restrictions, it was important for people to continue adhering to the safety protocols as the fight against the disease was not over.
Dr Mrs Yvonne Adu-Boahen, Head, Clinical Trials Department, FDA, representing the Chief Executive Officer, said the purpose of the meeting was to share and comprehensively review the draft to make the document fit for purpose.
She said there would be a complete document, which all would be comfortable to use to improve communication during vaccination programmes.
That would prevent challenges related to vaccines on its first introduction, Dr Adu-Boahen stated.
Mrs Rhoda Appiah, Head of Communications and Public Education Department, FDA, giving an overview of the document, said the Ghana Vaccine Related Events (VRE) Response Plan was in four phases, including Preparation for a VRE, Detecting VRE for effective monitoring, Responding to VRE, as well as Sustaining/post VRE through feedbacks and evaluation for further policy decision.
She said the programme, since its establishment, had progressively introduced several vaccines such as malaria and COVID-19 into its routine immunisation, mainly among children under five years as well as adults.
Despite some success chalked, the process of addressing VRE had been riddled with inadequate capacity for reporting, low response time, and lack of proper documentation and coordination, she added.
Mrs Appiah said stakeholders played important roles in the process of effective management of VREs and was hopeful that the meeting would make the document fit for purpose.
The event was organised by the FDA in collaboration with the GHS with support from Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
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