GHS Begins Mass Vaccination Ahead of Yuletide

Dr Patrick Kuma Aboagye

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) will from today begin its 5TH round of mass Covid-19 vaccination campaign ahead of the festive season, which is often characterized by numerous social gatherings.

The GHS exercise, which will end on Sunday, December 18, has a target of administering at least 1.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines nationwide.

It would cover all eligible persons 15 years and above, including pregnant women, with over 6,000 vaccination teams scheduled to carry out the exercise using static and mobile strategies to reach unvaccinated persons.

GHS Director General, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, announcing the exercise entreated unvaccinated and partially vaccinated members of the public to get their COVID-19 jabs to guard against infection during the yuletide.

“Normally, we get a spike in cases in January because lots of human activities happen during the festive season, but we can reduce that with vaccination.

The best time to vaccinate is now. The best gift you can give yourself, your family, and loved ones this Christmas is to vaccinate against COVID-19 so we can all stay protected,” he said.

Dr. Kuma-Aboagye said although uptake of the COVID-19 vaccines had been impressive, there was still the need to reach all persons to achieve herd immunity in the country.

“With the first, second, third, and fourth rounds of these cam­paign days, the total number of administered doses as of the end of November 2022 is about 21 million doses, with over 12 million people currently in Ghana receiv­ing at least a dose of the COVID -19 vaccine, and over 9 million fully immunised,” he stated.

However, the Director General noted that the end was far from sight since the virus was unpredictable and a larger proportion of the population eligible for the vaccine remained unvaccinated.

“The vaccination remains the most effective way of protecting one against the COVID-19 disease. The vaccines are safe, effective, and free and prevent severe illnesses, hospitalisation, and deaths.

“Let’s all do our part and be determined to stop COVID-19 to reduce its negative impact on people by getting vacci­nated” he urged.

Programme Manager of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI), Dr. Kwame Amponsa-Achiano, said out of a total of 34.04 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines received into the country, 30.57 million have been distributed, with 3.47 million doses still available.

He maintained that the vaccines were safe and efficacious against the SARS-COV 2 virus, and the Service was committed to using the NaCVaDs to improve vacci­nation coverage.

In a speech read on his behalf, the World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Ghana, Dr. Francis Kasolo, stressed the need for countries to reduce the death rates as well as close the gaps for COVID-19 transmission.

“We need to strengthen the strategies to reduce the transmis­sion impacts on people through vaccination, so that at least 70 per cent of the world population would be vaccinated and free from the virus,” he said.

A total of 21,179,341 vaccine doses had been administered by the GHS as of Wednesday, 30 November 2022.

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri