… as it launches report on COVID-19 vaccination compliance, experience
In the country’s quest to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19, SEND Ghana, a policy research & advocacy civil society organisation is calling on the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service to adopt steps to increase Cold Chain Equipment (CCE) and vaccine logistics across districts.
Though the group’s recent report dubbed ‘Monitoring Compliance of Ghana’s National Deployment and Vaccination Plan and Citizens COVID-19 Vaccination Experience’ indicated that by way of fighting COVID-19, access to Cold Chain Equipment at some districts has improved, it said there was still some deficit.
“The distribution of Cold Chain Equipment (CCE) was somewhat fair. Refrigerators (VLS404 & 504) were quite adequate in districts that provided the required information. However, there were some gaps in the required numbers and capacity of freezers (MF314), Cold boxes and vaccine carriers.
This comes to suggest that government needs to adopt necessary measures to ensure the supply of required capacity and number of CCE and related accessories in districts with gaps,” it stated.
The Deputy Country Director of SEND Ghana, Emmanuel Ayifah, explained that the report which was put together by his outfit, with help from the Partnership for Transparency Fund (PTF) is an assessment of citizens’ experiences, opinions and motivations for vaccination.
It also checked vaccination uptake among prioritised groups using data from the COVID-19 vaccination database; adherence to vaccination safety protocols; the distribution of cold chain and logistics; and the uptake of COVID-19 vaccines among health workers, teachers the aged as well as the public.
Data were collected in four urban and peri-urban districts each in the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions, including Tema, Ashaiman, Madina, Obuasi and Asokwa.
Dr. Ayifah said findings revealed that compliance was generally good.
“The interviewees indicated that healthcare personnel educated them about possible side effects of the vaccines and provided after-care instructions such as strategies to reduce the side effects of injection site pains and fevers.
Also, 54 percent of respondents indicated that they got information about vaccination from friends and a quarter of them received information from healthcare personnel. The motivation factor for vaccine uptake among respondents was the protection of their family and friends,” the report stated.
Based on the report findings, the group recommended that health promotion efforts for the COVID-19 vaccination exercise and subsequent vaccination exercises should adequately address possible side effects and safety as these are key for uptake.
It added that COVID-19 vaccination communication messages should focus on the protection of family members and friends from the disease and possible deaths and less on mandates restricting access to services and employment reasons.
Although the monitoring findings showed compliance was generally good, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) was advised to convene refresher sessions for its staff on the NDVP as it will enhance high levels of compliance with the guidelines of the NDVP.
Health Directorates were encouraged to sustain the vaccine promotion efforts/campaigns to contribute to the attainment of the country’s herd immunity target.