Kandifo Institute, a public policy and analytical research think-tank, has commended government for its tremendous effort in ensuring that the country gets a supply of the COVID-19 vaccines – especially being one of the first in Africa.
According to the Institute, the efforts of government, the COVID-19 Taskforce, officials of the Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service for procuring these Oxford- AstraZeneca vaccines are commendable, and the statement made by President Akufo-Addo that he looks forward to delivering on the mandate Ghanaians have entrusted in him was genuine.
It will be recalled that the president – in his 23rd address to the nation on measures taken against spread of the coronavirus, explicitly stated that his government’s aim was to vaccinate the entire population by end of year.
In the same vein, the president added that the earliest vaccines will be in the country by March; and indeed the vaccines did arrive, even before March, and administration started on the 2nd, March 2021 – making the president a man of his word.
“The COVID-19 Taskforce – which is chaired by the president, officials of the Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service – managed to procure the AZD1222. i.e., The Oxford- AstraZeneca COVID- 19 Vaccine before March, and this is a commendable feat for the country,” Executive Director of Kandifo Institute, Palgrave Boakye- Danquah, has said.
“Ghana, I assure you, is not going to be left behind in having access to vaccines. I am aware of the anxieties relating to the safety and efficacy of the newly- developed vaccines. Government will ensure that the COVID-19 vaccines to be deployed in the country are effective and safe,” Nana Akufo-Addo said during his address to the nation.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID- 19 Vaccine is a viral vector vaccine that works by giving genetic instructions to the body to produce antigens. The vaccine is 76% effective and can be stored at normal refrigerator conditions. This means that Ghana will have no struggles with storing the vaccine. This vaccine was approved and ready for emergency use by the WHO on 15th February 2021.
Ghana is the first country to receive the coronavirus vaccine from the COVAX facility. The country spent US$200million to procure 2.4 million doses. The first consignment of vaccines which arrived on Wednesday, 24 February 2021 numbered 600,000.
The president, when taking his jab of the vaccine at the 37 Military Hospital, stated that distribution of the vaccine would commence. This will go a long way in helping the country achieve its aim of vaccinating about 60% of Ghanaians by the end of June.