The Ghana Health Service (GHS), is to begin the administration of Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines in places identified to be Hotspot in all regions across the country by next week.
The exercise will be targeted at the most vulnerable people’s focal areas. Dr. Kwame Amponsa-Achiano, Programs Manager of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra on Monday that a few of the doses left after vaccinating vulnerable people in the 11 Hotspot district in Accra and Kumasi have been sent to the regions to be administered.
The administration of the Johnson& Johnson COVID-19 vaccines in the Greater Accra and Ashanti Regions ended on Friday with approximately 155, 000 vaccines administered in the two regions. The vaccine jab which was administered in 11 districts; seven in the Greater Accra Region and four in the Greater Kumasi metro, was to protect the most vulnerable in society against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Amponsa-Achiano explained that all Johnson and Johnson jabs deployed to the two regions were successfully administered.
“The vaccines we received were not enough to cover everybody, however, the plan is to vaccine the most vulnerable, like the aged, persons with underlining health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension as a priority,” he said.
“When you are dealing with an outbreak that is what you do, you take care of the most vulnerable and if you have the excess vaccine you can then continue.
“So what we did was that we mapped out those areas that have the highest number of people based on the data, they are like the super spreader and then within that we give preference to those who are most vulnerable”.
“But remember the other regions also have focal areas that are vociferous and so we take their vulnerable as well in equity, it is not about covering everybody,” he stated.
He said there were reports of adverse events such as chills, fever, malaria, general body pains especially at the injection area but it was nothing to worry about.
He explained, “normally when we received the vaccines we may have a medical event, that may be due to the vaccine but it is not always the case that is why we are careful”.
He said without vaccines diseases such as malaria, flu, and others still exist, some of which may be coincidental.
“So what we do is that we say adverse event and we investigate it if they are just common flu but if it is too serious we investigate to see whether it is the vaccines or not, he said.
Dr. Amponsa-Achiano said the GHS was trying to finish work on the Johnson &Johnson vaccines which have been sent to the other regions for them to start administering the second dose of the Sputnik V vaccines which arrived in the country last week.
“If we are unable to start towards the end of the week then early next said,” he said.
He appealed to the public to bear with the GHS as they were trying to work within their means and plans to get more vaccines targeting the other regions.
Ghana took delivery of 177,600 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on August 7 as part of the first batch of the Africa Union’s African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT).
So far, only 405,971 have been fully vaccinated by receiving both doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, whilst 865,422 have received only the first dose.