The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has implored the public to get vaccinated to avert a possible fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
“The fourth wave is real, some countries are already experiencing it, just as it was before the third wave things about the virus were quiet, it was if the disease was gone and then we started recording more cases, it is for this reason that we need to be careful.”
Dr Kwame Amponsa-Achiano, Programme Manager, Extended Programme on Immunization (EPI) made the remark during a media orientation in Accra on Friday on the ongoing second phase of the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out.
He said the public needed to take the ongoing vaccination exercise seriously and receive their vaccines now because the best time to give vaccines was when the disease infections were low and not high with more people getting infected.
Dr Amponsa- Achiano said there were enough vaccines, about 3.6 million doses available in the cold room to vaccinate more people from now to December 2021 and beyond, stressing that all the vaccines in Ghana were safe, and people must be accepted.
He reiterated that the second phase of the vaccination process was opened to the public and all persons 18 years and above were expected to visit the nearest vaccination centre to receive their jab.
He said currently, over two million people in Ghana had received at least a dose of COVID-19 vaccine, as part of efforts to achieve herd immunity and subsequently reduce the burden of the disease among the public.
Dr Amponsa-Achiano explained that the choices on vaccines used in Ghana presently were selected based on their safety, efficacy and potential effectiveness, formulation, ease on storage, cost of vaccine and delivery feasibility, availability and regulatory approval.
The total number of vaccines received in Ghana so far are 7,339,330, comprising 4,335,970 doses of AstraZeneca, 21,000 doses of Sputnik-V, 422, 450 doses of Johnson and Johnson, 1,229,620 doses of Moderna and 1,330, 290 Pfizer.
The total number of vaccine doses administered as of October 21 across the country is 2,842,857.
The EPI Programme Manager said the GHS was still in discussions with health organisation on how safe it is, to vaccinate pregnant women as scientists had confirmed that pregnant women were about 10 times likely to die from COVID.
He encouraged breastfeeding mothers to visit the vaccination centres and receive their jabs.
Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, Director General of the Ghana Health Service said all efforts at reducing the spread of COVID-19 were yielding results, however, the end to the pandemic is far from sight.
“The initial phase of the roll-out which targeted segmented populations who are at most risk has been completed and the ongoing second phase is for all persons 18 years and above, now that vaccines are available, the time to get vaccinated is now” he emphasised.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says, vaccination is the most effective way to protect against COVID-19 disease, and COVID-19 vaccines prevented severe illness, hospitalization and death as the vaccines were safe and effective.