An immunologist, Dr. Yaw Bediako, has charged the government to be proactive and swift in its plans towards the vaccination of the Ghanaian populace against the novel coronavirus else the virus may change before we achieve any breakthroughs.
He said that while the government’s plan to vaccinate 20 million Ghanaians sounds exciting, the precedents in the country where infants are the ones who are typically vaccinated under no pressurizing circumstance, this new one would require a strategic yet time-conscious plan.
Dr. Yaw Bediako, who is a Research Fellow at the West African Center for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP) at the University of Ghana explained that existing infrastructure in the country appears great, but the workforce to undertake this new vaccination must be beefed up.
“Simply saying we have great infrastructure – our infrastructure is based around childhood immunization and simply saying we have great infrastructure is not enough. We are very good at immunizations in this country but typically, we are focusing on infants soon after birth; that is really who you typically immunize but this is business unusual. We are targeting a large proportion of the adult population: people who are working, some of whom are hard to find because they are in the informal sector, so there are going to be new challenges, and it is all the more reason we need a new plan. So, it is great to hear that it is not entirely the typical structures and we can only hope that this plan will be implemented as designed,” he said.
Speaking on JoyNews’ Newfile on Saturday, February 13, 2021, and monitored by GhanaWeb, he said that the times are unusual, prompting unusual ways of doing things and should the country depend solely on its existing knowledge or way of vaccination, it may just blow up in our faces.
He also explained that vaccination today is important, but it should not be mistaken to be the only thing that will be happening in the country health-wise and such, a great plan must be drafted to achieve success in it.
“You have remember that other health activities have to continue at the same and we cannot neglect the things that we are doing just to vaccinate people against COVID. So, the health system is going to need added resources beyond what is typically used for vaccination and it will be great to hear that clearly articulated when we are discussing a plan because you cannot just rely on the existing infrastructure because you are going to have to deploy people in a much more aggressive and a much faster rate than you would typically do.
“Every year you probably vaccinate a couple million, or a few million children at the most, maybe even not that many. Now you are looking at vaccinating 20 million people and as an immunologist, someone who is studying the virus, we all understand how quickly we need to deploy because the virus is constantly changing. If we are too slow, the virus will change and we’d have to figure out how to do it all over again,” he explained.