Editorial : Secure vaccines promptly to avert catastrophe…

More African countries register Russia's Sputnik Vaccine

President Nana Addo Akufo-Addo announced at the opening of the 72nd New Year School on Tuesday that government has begun discussions with manufacturers of coronavirus vaccines for procurement. This should assuage fears of the second wave of the virus causing maximum damage.

A doctor who is one of the few scientists in the country studying the virus’ behaviour has said she is scared of what could be the second wave of COVID -19. Dr. Augustina Sylverken, who is a researcher at the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (KCCR), expressed fear that the country may see more deaths in the coming days.

The recent upsurge in number of active cases, coupled with discovery of new variants of the virus in the country, has re-awakened the need to strictly comply with the WHO safety protocols such as wearing nose-masks, social distancing and frequently washing hands, since laxity has set in with many people believing the virus has been contained.

The president’s assurance that Ghana is about to procure vaccines to ensure the safety of citizens is very welcome, but the caveat here is that mass vaccination is expected to take place within six months. Therefore, while we wait for procurement of the vaccines, it behoves every citizen to be cautious and strictly adhere to the prescribed safety protocols in order not to fall victim to this disturbing virus.

The president is hopeful that the discussions with manufacturers will afford government the opportunity secure suitable doses for the country. This is crucial as rich countries are hoarding doses of Covid vaccines and people living in poor countries are set to miss out, a coalition of campaigning bodies has warned.

This is despite Oxford-AstraZeneca pledging to provide 64% of its doses to people in developing nations. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has not hidden his dismay – speaking out about what he describes as the ‘moral blemish’ of wealthy nations monopolising vaccines to the detriment of poor countries.

Government’s discussions must ensure that a sizeable quantity of the vaccines will be available for the country to procure and treat its citizens satisfactorily. Canada, for example, has ordered enough vaccines to protect each Canadian five times.

Even though rich nations represent just 14% of the world’s population, they have bought up 53% of the most promising vaccines so far.

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