Dr. Yaw Bediako, an immunologist at West African Center for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens WACBIP, has suggested that Ghana will need vaccines from other countries to enable it proceed with the administration of the second dose of vaccines.
Speaking in an interview, he averred that the vaccination exercise is facing challenges due the lack of access to vaccines. This, he explained, is due to the large outbreak of the virus in India, the producers of the COVAX AstraZeneca, which has resulted in the domestic hoarding of the vaccines.
“The number of people we have vaccinated is good so far. However, it is a very small proportion of the number that needs to be vaccinated.
“The only way the country could take delivery of vaccines will be from surplus supplies from other countries. It is my hope that the government will reach out to some countries to secure vaccines so the vaccination process can continue.”Dr. Bediako
Dr. Bediako stated that the nation needs to start working for itself and stop depending on group initiatives. He then urged the government to use its diplomatic effort in getting the country some surplus vaccines.
Local vaccine production will not be timely
Commenting on the calls for local production of vaccine, he averred that although it is a good call, it cannot be achieved within the time frame.
“Production of vaccines a highly technical and highly complicated process that cannot be achieved within a few months. The vaccine production development for Ghana is for the next pandemic.
“To be honest our approach right now has to be securing vaccines where we can find them. Do we need to put in place measures where we can begin to develop our own capacity? Certainly, but that capacity will take years to develop and cannot be done just overnight. In my opinion that will have to be our secondary focus.”Dr. Bediako
Dr. Bediako noted that the primary focus should be getting vaccines for the over 800,000 people who are awaiting the second jab of the vaccine. He said the nation also has huge numbers to vaccinate this year. However, he averred that this might not be possible.
Responding to calls to take rejected vaccines in other countries, he intimated that if the country should take, it should not be the expired ones. He indicated that the vaccines that have not been expired but have been maintained properly will be ideal.
“If other countries are not in the position to use them up before they expire, we should be looking. I mean right now it is a matter of, I wouldn’t call it desperation but in some ways it is a desperate situation.
“In Ghana we have a really well defined and well sort out vaccine deployment plan and all we need are the vaccines. So, if other countries cannot use the vaccines they have before they expire we should be getting them.”Dr. Bediako
Vaccine deployment plan was good
Speaking about the vaccination plan, he averred that it was good to give out all the vaccines as first doses. But unfortunately, he said the spike in India has caused a rather unfortunate delay in getting the second doses.
“I don’t think we can say we had a poor plan. We were vulnerable and that vulnerability is shared by many African countries because of the lack of local capacity. The plan was fine. It’s a plan based on a lot of factors but unfortunately we are beginning to pay a bit of a price.”Dr. Bediako
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