COVID-19: Ghana to extend vaccination exercise for health workers in three regions

AstraZeneca vaccinations

The Ghana Health Service’s Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), says it will expand the ongoing vaccination exercise for health workers to key service providers in the Western, Central and the Eastern regions.

Dr Kwame Amponsa-Achianoo, Programme Manager of the EPI, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an Interview in Accra that, the expansion had become necessary because the three regions were identified as hotspots after the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions.

He said Ghana on Tuesday took delivery of 160,000 doses of Covishield, the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

The doses are part of vaccine donations made by MTN to support the government in the ongoing vaccination exercise.

The Mass COVID-19 vaccination exercise started on March 2, 2021, with a population and geographic segmentation in Greater Accra and Kumasi and some districts in the Central region.

Presently, vaccination is ongoing for health workers, key public officials and persons with underlining health conditions in 217 districts across the country.

Dr Amponsa- Achiano said the initial plan to vaccinate people in segments had not changed, and that, the EPI was working in accordance with expectation of vaccine arrivals in the country.

Commenting on adverse events on the ongoing vaccination exercise, he said the EPI had recorded about 1,600 adverse events under the Food and Drugs Authority’s safety monitoring process.

He said 12 out of the 1,600 adverse events were serious, with the vaccine having the tendencies to threaten the life of an individual, caused a prolongation of an existing hospitalisation and a disability.

The Programme Manager said nine of the 12 serious events had gone through a causality assessment, three yet to go through assessment, with seven out of the nine not related to the vaccine, but having a coincidence.

He said available data for the GHS indicated that over 5,000 persons were vaccinated against the coronavirus so far.

“So far, we have distributed approximately 570,000 doses in addition to the 155,000 doses donated by MTN with low vaccine wastage,” he said.

Dr Amponsah- Achiano advised the public to mask up, observe physical distancing and proper hand hygiene during the Easter festivities.

“If we look at our data, we see that mask wearing has gone down because the cases have gone down, it appears people’s behaviour change only when the cases go up,” he said.

As of March 28, Ghana has recorded a total of 90,583 COVID-19 cases, 88,063 recoveries with 743 deaths.

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that are common among animals.

In rare cases, they are what scientists call zoonotic, meaning they can be transmitted from animals to humans, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

It has incubation period between 4-6 days and fatal, especially for those with a weakened immune system-the elderly and the young.
It could also result in pneumonia and bronchitis.

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