The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, has urged those who receive their second vaccination against COVID-19 to continue observing the safety protocols, including wearing face masks.
“The second jab can give you some protection but not 100 per cent. Even the vaccine with the highest efficacy is about 94 per cent, which means that six per cent of those who have the vaccines may still be exposed to the virus,” he explained.
The AstraZeneca vaccines can provide about 76 per cent protection against COVID-19.
Dr Kuma Aboagye was answering questions at the Ministry of Information press briefing to update the nation on COVID-19 management, especially the second phase of the vaccination programme.
On whether those who were fully vaccinated could stop wearing face masks, he said that decision would be made by the government in due course – on the attainment of national herd immunity.
He, however, emphasised the importance of taking the vaccination, saying it protects beneficiaries from the viral infection, severe sickness and hospitalisation and death.
He said a total of 852,047 people were vaccinated and captured into the GHS database during the first phase.
However, about 360,000 people would receive their second jab in the second phase, scheduled to take place from Wednesday, May 19, to May 26, 2021.
The beneficiaries include frontline health workers, persons with underlying health conditions, frontline security personnel, media practitioners, and those who are 60 years and above.
Members of the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary are also beneficiaries.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye explained that those who took the first dose should go to the vaccination centres with their unique COVID-19 Vaccination Cards.
However, those whose cards were missing could still go there with any of the national ID cards to facilitate the easy searching of their names in the database.
He said the GHS had already sent text messages to those who were due for the second dose and had specified the vaccination centre and the date one could visit the centre.
He said after taking the second dose, one’s COVID-19 Card would be replaced with a new one, which had enhanced features, such as a hologram and QR Code on it to aid validation.
So far, he said the GHS had dispatched all the logistics to the designated centres, while vaccinators and field officers had undergone refresher training to improve service delivery.
The GHS, he said, had also prepared infographic data of the vaccination centres of the 26 districts in the Greater Accra Region,19 districts in the Ashanti Region, and two districts in the Central Region to enhance the location of the vaccination centres.
He noted that the side effects experienced during the first jab, could still be felt, adding that, it takes three weeks for the full immunity of the vaccine to take effect in the body.
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Dr Kuma-Aboagye announced that the government was still engaging in bilateral discussions to secure more vaccines, even though Ghana would get more vaccines under the African Union COVAX Facility, which was free.
He said at the moment, the country had 16,000 doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccines, and was expecting 300,000 more soon.
He noted that all the necessary measures had been put in place to prevent the vaccines from going bad, as 580 went bad during the first phase.
Ghana took delivery of 350,000 AstraZeneca vaccines on Friday, May 7 from DR Congo’s 1.7 million leftovers, which is expected to expire on June 24.
The country intends to immunise about 20 million people.
As of May 15, 2021, Ghana’s COVID-19 active cases stood at 1,325, declining from 8,000 cases witnessed during the peak period of the second wave of infections in February, this year.
So far, 93,456 cumulative cases have been recorded, with 91,384 recoveries/discharges, representing 97.4 per cent recovery, and 771 deaths.
Ghana recorded its first Covid-19 cases on March 12, 2020.