Ghana is expected to receive another consignment of over 200,000 doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in May this year.
The UNICEF’s Regional Advisor for Health Systems Strengthening for Western and Central Africa Regional Office, Ms Susie Villeneuve, disclosed this, explaining that the vaccine would be shipped from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to Ghana, Togo and the Comoros.
She said the development was because the DRC did not have the needed systems and structures to use the AstraZeneca doses it received under the global access (COVAX) facility.
At a panel discussion at this year’s African Vaccination Week (AVW) launch in Accra on Monday, April 26, 2021, Ms Villeneuve explained that the decision to ship the vaccines from DRC
to Ghana, Togo and the Comoros was to prevent them from expiring since the DRC was not using them due to lack of facilities.
She said the vaccines were safe, and encouraged the beneficiary countries to make good use of them.
Advocacy & more
Initiated in 2010,the AVW provides an opportunity for countries in Africa to
strengthen their immunisation services and systems through advocacy, education and outreach activities.
It further seeks to increase community awareness of immunisation, and to strengthen linkages between Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) and other child survival interventions.
This year’s event, which has been dubbed: “Vaccines Bring Us Together”, is a reflection of the need for everyone to support the vaccination process in order to reduce vaccine preventable diseases to its barest minimum.
Ghana became the first country in the world to receive 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in February this year.
Other countries, including DRC, later benefited from the COVAX facility.
The Programme Manager of the EPI, Dr Kwame Amponsah-Achiano, told the Daily Graphic that Ghana was expecting between 200,000 and 300,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines from the DRC shipment.
He said beyond that, the government was making efforts to get other types of COVID-19
vaccines, particularly the Sputnik V vaccine, from different sources.
He said the Pfizer vaccine, which had also been considered at some stage, required a temperature of -70 degrees to store it, pointing out that many African countries were not talking about it due to its storage requirements.
Dr Amponsah-Achiano said even with the AstraZeneca, the government was not only relying on India, but also Korea for it.
He added that the country was expected to receive about 4.4 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine under the COVAX facility.
Launching the AVW, the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, said the emergence and the continued surge of COVID-19 cases in the wake of vaccine discoveries required more concerted efforts to bring the situation down around the world.
“Africa and the global community can only win the fight against vaccine preventable diseases through a collective effort,” he said, adding that “vaccine preventable diseases have not vanished and may reoccur if we slacken in our effort to immunise all eligible children at the right time.”
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