The Programme Manager of Ghana’s Extended Programme on Immunization, Dr. Kwame Amponsa-Achiano, has hinted that efforts are underway to procure additional vaccine for the country.
Speaking on another sister station, the programme manager revealed that his outfit has sent an expression of interest within COVAX for Pfizer.
On February 24, 2021, Ghana became the first African country to receive AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine from the COVAX facility. So far, Ghana has received a little over 800,000 vaccines. These include 600,000 via the COVAX facility, 50,000 from the Indian government and 165,000 from MTN.
According to Dr. Amponsa-Achiano, close to 500,000 persons have received their first jab. He indicated that Ghana could be taking delivery of a significant number of vaccines in April.
“We are working hard at it. Indications are that by close next week or the first week in April, we should get an additional some 400,000 additional doses.”
Since the beginning of March 2020, when Ghana received its first vaccine, public discussion about the vaccine rollout has slowed. However, Dr. Amponsa-Achiano said there is still a lot of interest in getting the vaccine.
“The conservation could be better but from our end, I wouldn’t say it has gone down because we have tonnes and tonnes of requests; so many that we can’t even meet for now.”Dr. Amponsa-Achiano, Ghana’s Extended Programme on Immunization.
COVID-19 Vaccine Theft
Dr. Amponsa-Achiano also assuaged the fears of the public following the theft of some COVID-19 vaccines recorded at his organization. He said this won’t have any impact on the plans outlined since it is just an isolated incident. He added that majority of the persons associated with the programme are still trustworthy.
Explaining further, Dr. Amponsa-Achiano suggested that the breach only happened because of internal compromises.
“Actually, the people who have been named, we know two of them who are in-charge of vaccines. They know the processes of accountability, so they know the inside out. Nobody from outside can do that.”
“We were quite surprised, but we have men of integrity. About 99.9 percent of our people have integrity, so we will treat it as an isolated case.”Dr. Amponsa-Achiano, Programme Manager Ghana’s Extended Programme on Immunization
Two health officers; Stephen Dzisenu, a Disease Control Officer at the Greater Accra Regional Hospital and Lord Pabitey, a Disease Control Officer at the La Bawalashie Polyclinic, stole a combined 62 doses of the vaccine. The vaccine was delivered to one Cosmos Allotey, an Occupational Health and Safety Officer, who allegedly administered the vaccines at a cost of GHS200 per jab. Joseph Knight Gaisie, a Project Assistant and a former Laboratory Technician at the Greater Accra Regional Hospital is also being held by police for abetment of crime. The others, with the exception of Lord Pabitey, have also been arrested.