The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has launched a five-day national vaccination campaign, as part of efforts to increase the uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The campaign, dubbed ‘Operation 2.5 million doses in five days’, is intended to target at least 20 per cent of the 13.2 million population that remains unvaccinated.
All people 15 years and above, including pregnant women, are eligible to receive the vaccine.
In a speech read on behalf of the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, by the Deputy Minister of Health, Ms Tina Mensah, he said the exercise was to help achieve the herd immunity target of 20 million people.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted individuals, families, communities and the entire economy in many ways. Interestingly, across the globe, the spread of COVID-19 continues to cause disease, death and disruption and has pushed even the most advanced health system to the edge.
“Although Ghana is currently experiencing the fourth wave of the pandemic with the detection of the Omicron variant across the country, the proportion of severe and critical cases is relatively low, thanks to the country’s vaccination drive,” he said.
He announced that, as of January 28, 2022, Ghana’s COVID-19 confirmed cases stood at 156,242, from the about 2,207,069 tests conducted, while 1,364 people had lost their lives to the disease, with active cases standing at 4,185.
The Minister further said “healthcare workers, persons with underlying medical conditions, persons who are 60 years and above, frontline security personnel, members of the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislature are expected to have booster vaccination”.
“The booster vaccination is targeted at people who have taken the full jab of the various vaccines,” he added.
The Director-General of the GHS, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, assured the public that all the vaccines deployed are safe, effective, free and provided adequate protection.
He, however, said vaccination would yield maximum impact if used together with the prevention protocol, such as hand-washing, wearing of face masks and adhering to social distancing.
He said since the rollout of the vaccination in March last year, the exercise had suffered some uptake hesitancy due to misinformation, disinformation and low risk perception and called on all eligible persons to avail themselves, in their individual and national interest, for the jab.
The Manager of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation, Dr. Kwame Amponsah-Aciano, said Ghana had taken delivery of 25,858,290 doses of the five approved COVID-19 vaccines. He explained that in all, 7,262,928 of the population had taken their first doses, while about 3.6 million were fully vaccinated.
The President of the National House of Chiefs, Ogyeahoho Yaw Gyebi, also appealed to the public to debunk rumours about the vaccines and get vaccinated.
Representatives from development partners, such as the World Health Organisation, the USAID, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the German and the American embassies, all commended the government for the strides made and pledged further support for the vaccination campaign.