As has been our tradition under the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo administration, Ghana has yet made another level of history, being among the first African countries to access the vaccine.
Let’s remember, too, that only last year or so, we were also first in Africa, in managing the pandemic and staying on course with our developmental agenda. The figures and reports on Ghana bear ample testimony.
As promised by the President, Ghana, a couple of days ago, took delivery of 600,000 doses of AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX, a global vaccine sharing initiative reputed to have a Ghanaian expert on its team. The vaccines, we are further told, were produced by the Serum Institute of India.
The ceremony heralding the delivery process from the cargo plane was enough indication that there would be a huge relief to the population as the exercise rolls out to immunize whole segments of the population, particularly vulnerable citizens, including women and children.
As one UNICEF chief here in Ghana put it, “after a year of disruptions, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 80,700 Ghanaians getting infected with the virus and over 580 lost lives, the path to recovery for the people of Ghana can finally begin.”
That the vaccines are to be promptly deployed to the regions effective March 2, 2012, also highlights how serious the government is in initiating measures that will continue to improve lives and livelihoods in attaining socio-economic and developmental goals.
Though it is not certain when exactly the whole exercise rolls out, in the light of the need for clear safety protocols to be put in place, we are confident that Ghanaians feel refreshed over the issue and will come out wisely in the relevant numbers as the exercise begins in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area into Awutu Senya and Awutu Senya East and upwards into the rest of the regions.
Government official release on strategies for the exercise indicates that persons in these areas who will benefit from the initial doses of vaccine are “health workers, adults 60 years and over, people with underlying health conditions, frontline executive, legislature, judiciary, and their related staff, frontline security personnel, some religious leaders, essential workers, teachers, and other personalities.”
The statement assured that the government “remains resolute at ensuring the welfare of all Ghanaians and is making frantic efforts to acquire adequate vaccines to cover the entire population through bilateral and multilateral agencies.”
We again share the opinion of the UNICEF who sees in this refreshing development “a momentous occasion, as the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines into Ghana is critical in bringing the pandemic to an end. Additionally, we believe that this is “the only way out of this crisis is to ensure that the vaccines are available for all.”
On behalf of the general public and civil society, we, therefore, commend the government for its usual prompt response in ensuring that the COVID-19 pandemic’s threat to lives and livelihoods is contained.
This, truly, is a government which has shown a commitment to the welfare of citizens in very many ways and which, therefore, deserves another mandate beyond 2024.
We also trust that handling of the consignment, as it moves from point to point, and warehouse to warehouse will be carried out in such a manner that waste and contamination are vigorously avoided.
It is also imperative that we, as citizens, leave no stone unturned in making ourselves available when we are called to be vaccinated, together with our kids and family elders. And, while we do that, it is equally important that we continue complying with the safety protocols to the hilt as we open up daily to updates on how and when the exercise unfolds.