Health | National

GHS embarks on 7th COVID-19 vaccination campaign 

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) on Tuesday launched a five-day vaccination campaign to intensify the uptake of COVID-19 vaccines across the country.

The campaign, which runs from Wednesday, July 19 to Sunday, July 23, 2023, is to ensure that Ghana reaches the required target to guarantee the safety of Ghanaians, and to integrate the exercise into the country’s routine immunisation programme.

The Director General of the GHS, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye speaking at the launch of the 7th National COVID-19 vaccination campaign, said despite the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) declaration that the pandemic was no longer a public emergency concern, there was a need to get the population vaccinated because the disease was still prevalent.

“This declaration does not mean that the COVID-19 pandemic is over, what it means is that under the International Health Regulations, the management of the pandemic is taking a different approach, integrating COVID-19 into existing health delivery mechanisms,” he said.

“The WHO, therefore, recommends that countries maintain efforts to increase COVID-19 vaccination coverage for all persons to maintain the gains made in our fight against the disease,” he added.

Dr Kuma-Aboagye noted that the national vaccination exercise, which began on March 1, 2021, had yielded positive results, adding that there was a need to do more to ensure that more people got vaccinated to achieve herd immunity. 

He expressed worry that almost 70 per cent of the Ghanaian population was unvaccinated, warning that the entire populace was not safe until the last Ghanaian took the jab.

“As of yesterday, nearly 26 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines had reached almost 14 million persons, out of which 10 million persons are fully vaccinated,” he said, noting that though the figure represented about 59 per cent of the target, “the county was still far from achieving its national target.”

“This means the whole population still stands a risk of a likely event of new variants as COVID-19 remains extremely unpredictable.”

Professor Francis Kasolo, WHO Country Director, said the future trajectory of the pandemic remained unknown and the continuous transmission of the OMICRON variant posed a risk to key populations including the elderly, persons with underlying medical conditions, healthcare workers and pregnant women.

He re-emphasised the need to support population immunity through vaccination, especially for the high-priority groups as recommended by the strategic advisory Group of Experts.

Dr Kwame Amposa-Achiano, a public health physician, said the virus was not predictable and the emergence of new variants called for continuous campaigns and effective communication on the importance of getting vaccinated.

He disclosed that the current vaccine available for the campaign was the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

Persons 18 years and above are eligible to take the vaccines. Each vaccination team member is expected to administer at least 40 jabs during the campaign.

Dr Ampodsa-Achiano said it was necessary for the vaccination campaign to be supported by the continuation of the COVID-19 safety protocols.

He called on stakeholders, partners, traditional leaders, and the media to help make the campaign successful.

Approximately 76 per cent of the target population have received at least a dose and then 59 per cent completed primary vaccination series.

The seventh vaccination campaign is targeted at the administration of one million doses within five days.

Almost 53,000 health workers and volunteers have been deployed nationwide for the exercise, with some 5,000 vaccination teams and over 1,000 supervisors across the national, regional and district levels.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.