By the middle of this month, the government will begin administering the second doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
This comes after Ghana received delivery of 350,000 more AstraZeneca vaccines from the Democratic Republic of Congo through the COVAX initiative.
The vaccines form part of 1.3 million doses out of the 1.7 million doses being redistributed by the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF to Ghana, Comoros, Senegal and Angola.
DR Congo had delayed its AstraZeneca vaccine rollout over fears it could lead to rare blood clotting. UNICEF had earlier indicated that the vaccines distributed under the global COVAX initiative will expire on 24 June hence the redistribution.
The arrival of the vaccines in Ghana is expected to boost government’s drive to administer the second jab to those who had already taken the first shot.
The Director of Public Health at the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe in an interview explained “we intend to use it as a kind of backup for our second dose.”
On the time frame to the expiration of the vaccines, Dr. Asiedu-Bekoe said “we have a reasonable amount of time; seven weeks or more, to deploy [the vaccines].”
“Somewhere next week, the middle of the month [May] we will start with the actual vaccination,” he added.
Dr. Asiedu-Bekoe also said the government will be guided by the limited supply of vaccines to administer the second dose according to the dates persons received the first doses of the vaccine.
“Clearly, this consignment that has come is mainly geared towards those who had the vaccination from the first three districts.”
“The idea is that by the time we get to the 12 weeks, you would have gotten your set allocation,” said Dr. Asiedu-Bekoe.
Ghana’s mass vaccination against the coronavirus begun on March 2, 2021, with the deployment of the 600,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines which were manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.
In addition to the COVAX support, Ghana has received 50,000 AstraZeneca vaccines from the Indian government and 165,000 from MTN.
Ghana has so far vaccinated 849,527 persons against the virus, according to the Ghana Health Service.