The Western Regional Directorate of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) would from Monday, November 22 start a mass vaccination exercise for members of the Confederation of Western Region Masqueraders ahead of the masquerade festivities next Month.
This is to ensure that participants as well as fans of the masquerade festivities were vaccinated to forestall an upsurge in COVID-19 cases after the festivals.
The exercise would take place at the Sekondi Youth Centre and the Library Complex at 0900 hours each day.
Deputy Regional Director in Charge of Public Health, Dr Gifty Amugi made this known at a forum with editors and media practitioners on COVID-19 vaccination.
She urged the public to take advantage of the exercise to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Amugi explained that there was a huge spike in the number of COVID-19 cases after major social events hence the decision to vaccinate as many participants of the festival as possible.
According to her, such social events were often associated with risks and underscored the need to ensure that all those who would participate in it received at least the first jab.
Dr Amugi noted that despite the Region having in stock thousands of COVID-19 vaccines, the vaccination uptake was low and expressed worry especially when Christmas was approaching.
This, she said, was despite the risk communications activities undertaken on COVID-19 vaccination as well as community outreach programmes to get people vaccinated.
“We have enough vaccines that have not been consumed, so all efforts should be geared towards consuming the available vaccines,” she said.
Dr Amugi gave said only 84,828 people, representing 5.8 per cent of the Region’s population were fully vaccinated.
She said the Region had recorded 7,536 cases since the outbreak of which 7,454 were discharged, 73 dead and nine active cases.
The best Christmas present, she said, one could give to a loved one was Protection against the COVID-19 virus.
She, therefore, called on the media to assist the GHS to address the major challenges for vaccine hesitancy for the Region to reach a significant coverage level.
She also urged companies, institutions and agencies, whose staff were vaccinated to reach out to them for the jabs.
Dr Yaw Ofori Yeboah, Regional Director of the GHS, said the Pfizer vaccine had been approved by Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) to be administered to people 15 years and above.
He mentioned the available vaccines to include AstraZeneca, Johnson, and Johnson, Pfizer and Modena.
He said GHS would engage the GES and other stakeholders to fashion out the best way to vaccinate school children.
“We have not won the fight against COVID- 19 yet, we now, fortunately, have enough vaccines to deploy. The primary target is to deliver the vaccines to a lot of people within the shortest time to avert a spike in COVID-19 cases after Christmas,” Dr Yeboah said.
He said the media was a key stakeholder in the vaccination advocacy and as such called on them to intensify their education for the Region to reach a significant coverage level.
He spoke about the need for the media to feed the community with the right information and further entreated them to cross-check their facts with the GHS before publishing their stories.