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General News of Sunday, 4 April 2021

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Second phase of coronavirus vaccine to begin end of April – GHS

Ghanaians who received the first jab of the COVID-19 vaccines will have the second vaccination of the AstraZeneca vaccines from the end of April to May, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Patrick Aboagye has disclosed.

Speaking on this week’s Newsfile on JoyNews, Dr Aboagye noted that the exercise will begin in about seven regions while the government seeks to procure more vaccines.

Ghana became the first African country to receive the vaccine from the COVAS facility. The 600,000 COVAX vaccines formed part of the first wave of COVID vaccines headed to several low and middle-income countries.

However, reacting to assertions on the use of different immunizations, the GHS Director indicated that although there are studies ongoing to ascertain the possibility, there is no scientific evidence to back the claim.

“There is no scientific evidence now that if you take first shot AstraZeneca, you can take Sputnik second shot but I know there are studies going on to see how it works. So until those results come out, we cannot propose that you will be able to take another vaccine. We need to be cautious to ensure that we have strong evidence on safety and efficacy before we can go ahead,” he said.

Dr Patrick Aboagye further revealed that despite the challenges government is faced with for more vaccines from the COVAXX facility, other alternatives are being considered.

He added that while the government wait for the 6.4 million doses from COVAX, a number were procured from South Africa and it [government] is working with the private sector to procure some more.

“Yes, we are not solely relying on COVAX. We are doing other bilateral organizations. It is not just COVAX but there are also other countries that have stock. We just received some from South Africa through MTN. All these arrangements are going on to be able to get vaccines while we wait for the 6.4 million doses from COVAX within whatever period. The government is also engaging other bilateral, not just Sputnik but others who may have the vaccine.

“There are countries that have vaccines they are not using – the AstraZeneca locked up in countries that may not use them. There is all manner of arrangements that are being done so we are not just relying on... because we know we are going to have a challenge with COVAX coming in. There is also the private sector approach. Yes, we are all worried but I believe that because we didn’t put all our eggs in one basket, we still hope that we might still be able to get vaccines,” he added.

He thus reiterated government's effort to ensure the health and safety of Ghanaians are a priority in the midst of the pandemic.

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