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"Operational Cost Of 2 Covid-19 Vaccine Doses Will Cost $2.60 US Dollars Per Person" - Dr. Achiano

The Programme Manager for Expanded Program On Immunization (EPI) at the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Kwame Amponsa-Achiano has revealed the operational cost of two (2) covid-19 vaccine doses which will be administered will cost $2.60 Dollars per person.

According to him, 20 million Ghanaians will be benefiting from the covid-19 vaccines.

Speaking at the Public Engagement on Covid-19 Vaccination Roll Out Plan, he said "The cost of two (2) covid-19 vaccine doses which will be administered on a person, that is operational will cost $2.60 US Dollars. We are looking at getting the vaccines for 20 million people"

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Speaking on the vaccination roll-out plan, he explained that vaccines save lives adding that the first vaccination started in 1978.

Dr. Achiano however immunization has conquered most childhood immunizable diseases in the country.

"Neonatal tetanus was eliminated in 2011. With polio, no case of wild polio was reported in Ghana after 2008. On Measles, there has not been any documented death in Ghana since 2003"

Speaking on the need for the covid-19 vaccine, he said "WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic on March 11 but sadly, we recorded our first two cases on the 12. A response strategy to covid 19 has mainly been physical and social barriers"

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Stressing on the potential benefit of the vaccine, he averred that it will contribute to the reduction in covid 19 ill-health and deaths.

Highlighting the roadmap, Dr. Achiano said "The National Immunization Technical Advisory Group has produced a policy guide"

He also explained that Ghana is preparing to receive the covid-19 vaccine in March this year.

On the vaccine list, he noted "Only two have had Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drugs And (FDA). Astra Seneca (ChAdox1-S), Moderns, Pfizer and Sputnik - V"

He also stressed that there is an initial target of 20 million which will include; health workers, students, media, persons with underlying health conditions, persons above 60 among others.

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Dr. Achiano revealed that the vaccine deployment will be in 3 phases.

Speaking on Success Stories of vaccines in Ghana, he said "Robust Routine Immunization Program; High Immunization Coverage is above 90%. Out of 10 children, 9 have been vaccinated.

Minister of Health-designate, Kwaku Agyemang Manu called Ghanaians to drift away from blame games adding that the country is currently at a place it never thought of due to covid-19.

"We are at a place, none of us thought we will be. We did well last year March but things have escalated. Protocols were given and we started with social distancing, we did well. This is not the time to apportion blames. We are back to the second wave" he said.

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Touching on vaccination, the Health Minister-designate noted that vaccination is not a new thing in Ghana adding that it has been in existence for a long time.

"Luckily in Ghana, we have a good story to tell when we talk about vaccines. We will ensure that we give the vaccine to all"

On his part, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (Haha), Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye revealed that the country has recorded 556 cases from 139 schools across the country.

He said "We have recorded 556 cases from 139 schools. North East and Savannah has not reported any cases in its schools"

Speaking on the need for the vaccine, the Director-General explained that vaccines protect the populace from 20 diseases adding that it also saves 3 million lives every year.

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Immunologist and Research Fellow at the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens, University of Ghana, Dr. Yaw Bediako said "A vaccine is a preventive tool that is simple, safe and highly effective drug which protects people against harmful diseases before they come into contact with them"

He further explained that the vaccine uses the body's natural defenses to build resistance to specifically protect the individual.

"Covid-19 vaccines will be arriving in Ghana soon. 188 million doses have been administered worldwide"

The Minister for Information-designate, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said "Some members of the Executives will take their shots to help clear that perception. I will take mine and some others will also"

Kojo Oppong Nkrumah also revealed that there are lots of stakeholder engagements adding that the Ministry is expecting the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE), Information Service Department (ISD) to go out and educate the people on the need for taking the covid-19 vaccine.

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The Information Minister-designate further charged the media to also use their platforms to help disseminate information on the covid-19 vaccine adding that only resourced and experts should be allowed to use their medium.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Delese Mimi Darko on her part mentioned that her outfit is working closely with the Ministry of Health to ensure that only genuine vaccines are given to the general public.

She added that the FDA will do all it can to ensure that the drugs are safe for usage.

"We have put out a nationwide monitoring system to ensure that everyone who gets vaccinated will be followed up. We are also monitoring the international scenes" she said.

Mrs. Darko hinted that the FDA has come up with a 13 member expert committee which will be working every second adding that it will provide weekly reports on new developments.

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It is emerging that 12,471 vaccinators, 37,413 volunteers, and 2,079 team supervisors have been trained for a planned 2 rounds of the vaccination exercise.

Greater Accra, Greater Kumasi will be the starting point for the covid-19 vaccination exercise while the Western and other regions will also receive their fair share of the drugs.

Pregnant Women and Children under 15 have been excluded from the Coronavirus Vaccination Programme.

Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith