An Immunisation Consultant for the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Mercy Ahun has allayed fears of Ghanaians over the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines which are expected to arrive in the country by the close of this week.
Her assurance comes at the back of the many myths and controversies surrounding the development and roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines.
Speaking on The Point of View, programme on Accra based Citi TV, Dr. Ahun vouched for the quality of vaccines.
“AstraZeneca vaccines are safe. They are reliable. WHO has gone through emergency use authorisation for the vaccine. Our own FDA has also gone through the process of reviewing the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. We assure the general public that this vaccine is safe. We are going to follow our coaching protocol and make sure that as soon as the vaccine is in, we take them to the cold stores. We will also ensure that right to the point of use, they remain potent.”
“The most important thing about immunisation as far as the programmatic aspect is concerned is public trust. When trust is broken, we have high hesitancy. Traditionally, we have had high trust in immunisation programmes. I worked with Ghana when the diarrhoea vaccines were introduced in 2012. We have seen the impacts of previous roll-outs, so let’s continue to talk so that we can address your concerns to make sure that you are protected from COVID-19.”
The Food and Drugs Authority has approved the AstraZeneca and Sputnik V vaccines for use in Ghana.
The government has also considered Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
It has already indicated that it had plans to purchase 350,000 doses of the AstraZeneca by the end of February.
The vaccination target is 20 million persons.
The Minister-Designate for Information, Oppong Nkrumah earlier said there will also be public sensitisation campaigns by the Local Government Service, Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service, National Commission for Civic Education, and Information Services Department to educate the public on the vaccination.
The Greater Accra, Ashanti, and Western regions will receive priority in the roll-out because of the prevalence of infection in these areas, according to the Ghana Health Service.