Ghana has recorded its first case of COVID-19 Omicron variant, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, Director-General, Ghana Health Service, has said.
He said the variant was first detected in Ghana on November 21 among passengers who arrived at the Kotoka International Airport from Nigeria and South Africa through genomic sequencing.
“The good thing is that the variant has not been detected in any community in Ghana, but the danger is that if someone has the Omicron, and it is incubating, it will not be found at the airport,” he said.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye said this at the launch of the Ghana COVID-19 vaccination month in Accra on Wednesday on the theme, “Protect yourself, protect your family, get vaccinated against COVID-19”.
He said a surge in the COVID-19 cases among international arrivals was expected largely due to an anticipated increase in the number of arrivals.
He encouraged Ghanaians to get vaccinated stating that vaccination was the best intervention for breaking transmission of any infectious disease, it reduces hospitalization and a disruption of the social and economic activities.
The Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu who launched the vaccination month, 86said national efforts at reducing the spread of COVID-19 has yielded great results, however, the end of the pandemic was far from sight.
“We know vaccines remain the cornerstone for ending this predicament, COVID-19 vaccines are now available and the best time to get vaccinated is now,” he said.
He said throughout the month of December, trained health workers would continue to be available at all health facilities and temporary health posts to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to all persons and 15 years and above.
In addition, mobile teams will move to towns and villages, and they will be located at schools, churches, mosques, bus stops, barriers and market areas to vaccinate people.
Mr Agyeman-Manu reiterated that the COVI9-19 vaccines were safe, effective, free and offered protection against COVID-19 disease, hospitalization and death, stressing “Until everyone is safe, no one is safe”.
He said Ghana, through the COVAX facility, bilateral and other multilateral arrangements, had secured over 12 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, which were being deployed across the country.
The health minister noted that eight million additional doses were expected before the end of the year.
“With these enormous quantities of vaccines available, we will have no excuse if we do not move closer to our target,” he said.