Pregnant Women To Take COVID-19 Vaccine

THE GHANA Health Service (GHS) has given clearance for pregnant women who are unvaccinated to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as it moves to increase its vaccine coverage and help drive cases further down.

This is because the World Health Organisation (WHO) has given approval for the COVID-19 vaccine to be administered to pregnant women.

The WHO further indicated that while there is less data available on vaccination of pregnant women, evidence on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy has been growing, and no safety concerns have been identified.

Speaking at the Information Ministry’s Meet the Press series in Accra, Director General of the GHS, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, said the vaccines recommended for use in pregnant women are the Moderna or Pfizer BioNTech vaccines which use the MRNA technology.

“We have done a lot of work, we were all concerned about pregnant women, that is why we did not add them at the initial stages but now, we have enough evidence both international and local and we are now able to add pregnant women because it is effective and safe,” he said.

The GHS is already administering COVID-19 vaccines to unvaccinated breastfeeding mothers.

Vaccine Booster

Dr. Kuma-Aboagye also announced the initiation of vaccine boosters for eligible groups in the country.

He said the move follows recommendation by the National Immunisation Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) for booster doses.

“As with the initial COVID-19 vaccine deployment strategy, the underlisted segmented populations will be given COVID-19 vaccine boosters; healthcare workers, persons with underlying medical conditions, persons 60 years and above, frontline security personnel, members of the executive, judiciary and legislature,” he said.

He further noted that the vaccine mandates would be focused on selected persons and venues including all health workers, students in secondary and tertiary institutions, frontline security personnel and commercial drivers as well as sports stadia and indoor restaurants.

“A final mandate will be announced by the minister following consultations with all relevant stakeholders,” he added.

Dr. Kuma-Aboagye said the current fourth wave being experienced in the country has been associated with a significant increase in cases.

He said although the fourth wave has low proportion of severe and critical cases, evidence of high proportion of such cases being unvaccinated is a source of concern.

“The current downward trend is expected to continue with the intensification of efforts at maintaining protocols and vaccination,” he added.

BY Jamila Akweley Okertchiri