The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has urged caution on the part of the Ghana Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) in receiving the next consignment of COVID-19 vaccines due to arrive in the country this week.
This is because reports have suggested that the vaccines from the Democratic Republic of Congo may have expired. The General Secretary of the GMA, Justice Yankson, speaking on an Accra network, said the FDA must ensure the vaccines meet the required standards before they are administered.
“Vaccines generally have a short shelf life, and it is no different with this as well. In fact, the first one that we got through the COVAX facility in March was also due to expire around June 24 so clearly, this may be just about the same batch that we have received. So for me, there is no problem, but there are certain protocols that we need to make sure have been observed. We must make sure, in terms of standards, that the FDA does what it does best to ensure that the drugs, when they arrive here, are safe for use.”
Mr. Yankson attributed delays in the arrival of the second dose of vaccines to geopolitical factors.
The Ghana Health Service recently issued a communiqué postponing the second phase of the vaccination exercise for persons who had taken the first jab.
Mr. Yankson blamed the delays on developments in countries involved in the production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
“I would not say it is becoming problematic, but the truth is, it is always good to have the ambition to vaccinate your population within the shortest possible time. What has happened is that we have a lot of geopolitical activities around the COVID-19 vaccine. A bit also seems to be coming from industry and standard requirements. Raw materials also seem to be in short supply.”
“Unfortunately in India where vaccines were supposed to be produced and distributed to COVAX countries, they are being ravaged by the virus. Their case count is on a record high. There has been a shortage of raw materials and the country has also decided that they are better off vaccinating their people rather than exporting to other countries.”